Mystical Explanation of the Passover Miracle
By S. Zalmanov
Why is it that on Purim and Chanukah we do not celebrate the day in which we Jews were victorious over our enemies? The day which we celebrate on Purim and Chanukah is the day after the victory, the day in which we rested. On Passover, we celebrate the holiday on the very night that G-d slew the first born of Egypt.
To understand the reason for this difference, we must first understand an important principle in mysticism. A first principle in mysticism is that we must realize that everything that exists in the entire universe exists only because of the life force that is granted to it from G-d. Without this force or G-dly influence no matter or material would be able to exist. This is true not just for our physical world, but even the upper worlds, the world of the angels and the world of the souls.
There are two methods in which this G-dly influence comes down into the world. One is called the transcending light and one is the light which fills the world. This second light fills the world and all which is in it and gives it its very existence. The second light is a derivative of the first transcending light.
(It should be noted at this point that the term used herein "light" should not be understood literally. Mystics use this word to describe that phenomenon of emanation of creative life force that is radiated from G-d.)
The light that gives the world its very existence is a measured light that comes from a very high source, the transcending light, and is stepped down by a series of reductions and concealments. The upper worlds, the angels and souls, even "gan eden", paradise, is created from these emanations. The light is filtered and reduced in intensity so that it may give life to all in a matter that all which is created may exist in a seemingly independent existence. This light receives its source from the transcending light.
The transcending light is the light that emanates from G-d but is not connected to the worlds. It transcends and permeates the world with equality. It is a light that can not be perceived in this or any world.
We can understand these two types of light by comparing them to sound and light waves and radio waves. Sound waves and light waves are two types of waves that can be apprehended by the person. Sound waves can be perceived by the ear, while light waves can be perceived by the eye. The eye is not a proper receptor for sound waves just as the ear is not proper receptor for light waves. Each wave is specifically perceived by its particular and respective sensor the eye or the ear.
In addition, light and sound wave can be blocked or reduced. We can close a door and block out sound or close curtains to reduce the light. These two are intimately related to the body and can be perceived or blocked from the body.
Radio waves also abound in the environment but the body can not perceive them. The radio waves, together with light and sound waves, are present in the environment, but the body has preceptors to receive transmission from sound and light only. The radio waves permeate and transcend the body. The body is not a receptor for the radio waves. We can not see or feel or comprehend them. The radio waves completely transcend the body as if it did not exist. They exist outside the body and inside the body equally. In the case of light and sound waves, the body can impede light or sound waves, but for radio waves the body provides no impedance.
This is an example to make it clearer the differences between the two types of G-dly emanations, the two types of light.
The transcending form of G-dly influence or light that is emanated can not be perceived by man. Even the angels can not perceive this form of G-dliness since they are created beings; they can not perceive what this is. The second type of G-dly influence is that which is related to the worlds. It originates from the transcending type of influence. Once the transition from transcending type of light is made to create the type of light which fills, creates and sustains the world is made, then the two can not be seen to be related. (The transition from the transcending light to the "world filling" light is a very abstract and difficult concept to understand.)
For us created beings who desire to experience a unity with G-d, we must first sanctify ourselves through our mode of living. In order that G-d dwell with in us we must first purify our life and environment, only afterwards can we "invite" G-d to dwell in our lives.
Although G-d allowed the creation of evil and impurity, He does not desire to reveal Himself in their presence. Rather for a revelation of G-dliness to come into our lives we must first remove these various impurities. Afterwards G-d may acquiesce to our desire that He become a part of our lives. We created beings must follow this simple formula, first we must remove evil and impurity, then we have made ourselves a vessel for G-dliness. We then work to bring this G-dliness into our lives.
However to G-d Himself there is no difference between big and small, good and bad, since he is of the dimension of the infinite, all are of an absolute equal. In G-d's reality anything which is created is a true nothing. Since G-d is the true reality, anything else outside of G-d can not be reckoned as having a true reality. Therefore, to G-d Himself, He may of His own choosing come reveal Himself in an area of impurity if He so chooses, since to Him, purity and impurity are created states, and therefore before Him are equal.
On Purim and Chanukah, the Jews were under attack from without and were unable to continue their personal effort to serve G-d. It mandated an upheaval that was instigated by the Jews. This action, either the war by the Hasmonians which culminated in Chanukah, or the actions of the Jews in Babylonia which gave us Purim were actions that were started by the Jews. These were in order that G-d's presence should again dwell amongst the Jews. Therefore the means to bring again G-d's presence was not the thing to be commemorated, meaning the victory, for they were only preparatory. The main thing was the service of G-d. The date in which we achieved this service was celebrated, the day we rested from our wars.
Our power was a power that was based on the proper usage of the G-dly influence that came into the worlds. It yielded a revelation of G-d in the world which became Purim and Chanukah.
Passover was different. As the story in the Bible relates, it was not us who initiated the ten plagues; it was G-d. G-d did not send an angel to kill the first born. The Torah relates that it was G-d Himself that came down into Egypt to slay the first born. This corresponds to the level of the transcending light, the light that comes from the highest levels of revelation. This is the light that makes no differentiation between impurity and the pure.
The Jews were in their homes celebrating as G-d swooped through Egypt killing all of the first born. Since the revelation of G-d came at the same time as the destruction of the Egyptian kingdom, we can celebrate this special occasion on the very day of the conflict.
Since Passover is the time of G-d's greatest revelation and what occurred during that time is relevant also for us. We can utilize this very special time to bring G-d closer to us, both on a national level and also on a personal level through learning about G-d and performing his special Mitzvoth.
Have a Happy and Kosher Passover!
from the April Passover 2005 Edition of the Jewish Magazine