117. "Then you shall say to Aaron, 'Take your rod'" (Shemot 7:9). HE ASKS, What is the reason the rod of Aaron and not the rod of Moses WAS SELECTED FOR THIS? HE ANSWERS, The rod of Moses was especially holy because the Holy Name was carved into it in the Supernal Garden of Eden, and the Holy One, blessed be He, did not want to defile it with the rods of the sorcerers, BECAUSE IT HAD TO SWALLOW THEM, AS IT IS WRITTEN, "AND THE ROD OF AARON SWALLOWED THEIR RODS." Moreover, in order to subdue all that comes from the left side, THE ROD OF AARON IS NECESSARY, because Aaron, a priest, came from the right, and the left is subjected to the right.
118. Rabbi Chiya asked Rabbi Yosi, It was revealed before the Holy One, blessed be He, that these sorcerers will make serpents AND, IF SO, what is the significance of making serpents before Pharaoh? He said to him, It is because the origin of the punishments is in there, MEANING THE PRIMORDIAL SERPENT THAT CAUSED ADAM AND EVE TO FAIL. The reign OF PHARAOH starts at the origin of the serpent, NAMELY FROM THE LEFT SIDE. Then WHEN THEY SAW THE TRANSITION OF AARON'S ROD TO A SERPENT, all the sorcerers rejoiced, because the beginning of the wisdom of their serpent was such. Immediately Aaron's rod turned back into a dry piece of wood and swallowed them.
119. Because of this, they were amazed and knew that there was a higher dominion on earth, for they thought that below, ON EARTH, there is no dominion aside from them to do anything. Then, "And the rod of Aaron swallowed their rods." It is precisely "the rod of Aaron," as THE SERPENT reverted into wood, and swallowed them.
120. Therefore Aaron made two signs, one above and one below. The one above, NAMELY that the supernal serpent of Holiness overpowered their serpents, and the one below, namely that the wood dominated their serpents, BY SWALLOWING THEM. And Pharaoh was wiser than all his sorcerers, and he perceived that the supernal dominion ruled over the earth, ruling above and below.
121. Rabbi Yosi said, Lest you say that everything the sorcerers do, they do only with optical illusions, that it only appears so, but not more, the Torah tells us, "And they turned" precisely, as it is written, "And they turned snakes" (Shemot 7:12), AS THEY ACTUALLY MADE THE SERPENTS. And Rabbi Yosi said, Even when their serpents returned to be wood, the wood of Aaron swallowed them. BECAUSE IT IS SAID, "AND THE ROD OF AARON SWALLOWED THEIR RODS."
122. It is written, "Behold I am against you, Pharaoh King of Egypt, the great crocodile that couches in the midst of his streams" (Yechezkel 29:3). HE IS CALLED SO, BECAUSE from THE GREAT SERPENT starts their dominion below, but their wisdom is drawn from under all the levels OF THE SERPENT AND HIS STREAMS.
123. Come and see, their wisdom abides in the lowest levels in order to subdue and subjugate these levels to the upper levels, WHICH ARE THE GREAT SERPENT AND HIS STREAMS, TO BE INCLUDED IN THEM, AND THEN THEY CAN DRAW LIGHT TO THE LOWER LEVELS. The tops of their dominion and their sources are under the serpent. They hold to the serpent, because their highest level, WHICH IS THE KING, receives power from there. THEREFORE THEIR KING IS LIKENED TO A GREAT SERPENT WHO COUCHES IN THE MIDST OF HIS STREAMS. This is understood from the verse, "That is behind the mill" (Shemot 11:5), MEANING BEHIND THE HIGHEST LEVELS THAT ARE CALLED MILL, SINCE THEY ARE NOT CAPABLE OF RECEIVING THE LIGHT OF CHOCHMAH, WHICH IS CALLED FIRSTBORN, EXCEPT BY SUBDUING AND SUBJUGATING IT TO THE HIGHER LEVELS AS MENTIONED. THEREFORE, IT IS CALLED THE FIRSTBORN OF THE MAIDSERVANT.
124. Rabbi Chiya was sitting one day at the gate of Usha. He saw Rabbi Elazar and A BIRD THAT IS NAMED Katfira flying by him. He said to Rabbi Elazar, It seems that even when you are going on the road everyone desires to follow you. RABBI ELAZAR turned his head and saw it. He said, Certainly THE BIRD has a mission since the Holy One, blessed be He, accomplishes His missions through everyone, and the Holy One, blessed be He, has many messengers. Do not say THAT HE DOES HIS MISSION only with living things, but also with inanimate things.
125. He opened the discussion saying, "For the stone will cry out of the wall and the beam out of the timber shall answer it" (Chavakuk 2:11). How careful a person must be not to sin before the Holy One, blessed be He. And if you ask who will bear testimony against him, lo and behold the stones of his house and the beams of his house will bear testimony against him. And sometimes the Holy One, blessed be He, carries out His missions through them. Come and see the rod of Aaron, which was a dry piece of wood, the Holy One, blessed be He, performed with it the first of the miracles. Two missions were accomplished with it: The first is that, though it was a dry piece of wood, yet it swallowed their serpents; the second is that it temporarily received the spirit OF LIFE and became a creature.
126. Rabbi Elazar said, May the spirit expire of those who say that the Holy One, blessed be He, will not resurrect the dead, because it is not possible that He could make a new creature of them. Let these wicked, foolish people, who are far from Torah and far from THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, see that Aaron had in his hands a rod, dry wood, which the Holy One, blessed be He, turned temporarily into a creature. That is, it changed in spirit and body. The Holy One, blessed be He, concealed in the dust those bodies that already had holy spirits and souls, observed the precepts of the Torah, and were occupied with Torah days and nights. At the time when the world will rejoice, MEANING AFTER THE END OF CORRECTION, how much more so will the Holy One, blessed be He, make them new creatures.