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Concerning the Environment

“‘And he took six hundred select carriages.’ Whose were they? If you say that they were from Egypt, it was already said, ‘All the livestock of Egypt died.’ If you say that they were from Pharaoh, it was already said, ‘The hand of the Lord is on your livestock.’ If you say that they were from Israel, it was already said, ‘Our livestock too shall go with us.’ Rather, it was from those ‘who fear the word of the Creator among the servants of Pharaoh.’ Thus, we learn that those who fear the word of the Creator are an obstacle to Israel” (Midrash TanchumaBeShalach).

This means that the primary guard is from an environment of those who fear the Creator. They are Pharaoh’s servants. Pharaoh is as the ARI said, that the exile in Egypt was that the Daat[reason/knowledge] of Kedusha [holiness] was in exile. Pharaoh would suck out the abundance, meaning he is the will to receive. They are called “working only for their own benefit” and they have no connection to the work of bestowal, for their sole intention is only to please themselves.

The keeping should mainly be from them, since on the outside, it seems as though they are working—engaging in Torah and prayer enthusiastically and making all kinds of precisions. For this reason, they are called “those who fear the Creator.” Otherwise, they would not be called so.

And yet, internally, they are enslaved to Pharaoh, meaning that their only aim is to satisfy their own wishes and needs, and they have no connection to the work of bestowal.

Such an environment creates an obstacle to a servant of the Creator because he wants to walk on the path of the Creator and sees their work when they engage in fearing the Creator, and he is impressed by their zeal, since when they work as Pharaoh’s servants, their bodies show no resistance because the efforts they make are also only for the body. Thus, there is no resistance here at all. On the contrary, the body agrees to give them strength.

It follows that such an environment is an obstacle to Israel, to one who wants to be “Israel” and not among Pharaoh’s servants. Because a servant of the Creator is impressed by the work of the servants of Pharaoh, he likes the servitude of Pharaoh’s servants and is lured after them. Thus, he absorbs their thoughts and intentions and thereby regrets all the efforts he has given in the work of bestowal.

Henceforth, he will have no strength to continue the work of bestowal.

But in an environment of unaffiliated, who are not of the type that fears the Creator, they have no connection to him because he knows that there is nothing to learn from them. At that time, there is no connection of thoughts because he knows he must not learn from the actions and thoughts of the unaffiliated. Hence, such an environment does not pose an obstacle.

Conversely, those who fear the Creator and are Pharaoh’s servants do pose an obstacle for Israel, and one must run far away from them.

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