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Shabbat Parashat Vayeishev 5780

Ein Ayah: Fitness of the Inconsistent Ones

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 9:98-99)

Gemara: [We continue with the dispute between Moshe and the angels as to who should receive the Torah. We are now up to Moshe’s answer to their claim.] Moshe asked: “Master of the Universe, what is written in the Torah You are giving me? He said to them: “I am Hashem your G-d who took you out of the Land of Egypt.” [Moshe] said to [the angels]: “Did you go down to Egypt? Were you enslaved by Paroh? So why should you have the Torah?” Moshe continued: “What else does [the Torah] say?” “You will not have other gods.” “Do you live among the idol worshippers, who worship other gods?”


Ein Ayah: Eternity is within the view of the beings of the Heaven (angels). Being all-encompassing and beyond change is their lot. The holy divine light has a wondrous effect on all, as it makes the vision of eternity so clear. At the same time, there are creations that change as time goes on.   

The great divine penetration reaches from the highest level of completeness of the all-encompassing and unchanging until the most detailed of the individual and the changing beings. Therefore, it is not right for the Torah to be concentrated in a place that is only for those who are of the highest quality. Part of the Torah’s design is to take people who are on a low level and to elevate them to a pure, holy level and in that way to unify existence in the world. It cannot remain in the domain of the already elevated and unchanging angels.

The eternal divine revelation, highlighted by the first of the Ten Commandments, made an imprint on the changing nature of mankind, who are affected by important historical events. It is not only because the Jewish People went down to Egypt and therefore were particularly in need of being drawn up. It was also because due to the connection to Egypt, great miracles were needed to extricate Bnei Yisrael from the clutches of the evil kingdom of Paroh. Paroh became the correct utensil to receive the plagues, which were a display of the justice of Hashem in the world.

That is why Moshe had a good claim against the angels in that they did not go down to Egypt and were not slaves to Paroh. They are too all-encompassing and are not individuals or those who change nor could their status turn into such types by means of events that impact people.  Since they cannot unite the status of the individual with the all-encompassing, Torah is not of full value for them.

The positive divine light reaches its full intensity when it comes in contact with an abundance of dark and negative influences. The negative and darkness need to have a relationship of being around the base of light, as the pasuk says, “They shall go around the evildoers” (Tehillim 12:9). They should not, though, penetrate into the light. The appearance of the light thus shows its dominion in fighting against darkness. The light of the true G-d is good and beautiful and adorns the world with grandeur.

The angels, as holy Heavenly beings, dwell among the positive light, and neither negative darkness nor powers of moral decay have a place among them. Therefore, they cannot be the sources of the emergence of light to purify the world. That is what Moshe meant by saying that they do not live among idol worshippers. They cannot imagine the dangers of darkness and therefore they cannot overcome them. For that, they would need real contact with idol worshippers. 
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