Shemot: Chapter 55

"Out of the midst of a bush"


Rabbi Yehuda first explains that the burning bush is an allusion to the fire of Gehenom that punishes but does not utterly destroy the wicked. Thus, it signifies God's compassion towards the wicked.

We then learn that God appeared to Moses in the flame of fire because Moses was unlike all the other prophets, and only he was able to approach the flame without being burned by it. This was because Moses' soul was drawn from a place from where no other was drawn; his unique connection to Mercy allowed him to confront Judgment without fear. Rabbi Shimon then establishes that although Bilaam was Moses' counterpart, Bilaam drew strength from the lower crowns and he acted according to impurity below, while Moses drew from the Holy Crown above and his actions were performed according to Holiness. This follows the duality inherent in all aspects of the universe.

Finally, Rabbi Yochanan refers to Rabbi Yitzchak's interpretation of the title verse to explain that the burning bush was a sign to reassure Moses that Yisrael would not succumb under the burden of their oppression.


The Light cast by this narrative painlessly burns away our sins and egocentric qualities from our nature, so that we now merit the World to Come, which really means the arrival of Heaven on Earth. Our fears of judgment are expunged from our being. When we are born into this world, our dark side and our soul has equal power. Our free will is to choose which voice we will follow.

This good-and-evil duality exists in the world at large. We now stamp out the darkness and tip the scales completely over to the side of good. Evil is banished from all existence. All wicked people of the world are rendered powerless. Their reign of terror is ended as the Zohar's Light successfully overthrows the powers of darkness.

Through the Holy Names that appear in this book of Zohar, and upon the merit of Moses, this becomes our ultimate exodus out of evil, our final and complete redemption and lasting freedom from the bondage of darkness.

The Light now shines from one end of the world to the other. And we bathe and bask forevermore in its pleasing and pleasurable radiance.