The last three plagues prior to the Exodus from Egypt came with a deeper awareness of the Creator as the one and only cause and effect of His Creation.
Each plague corresponds to a particular level of consciousness that we must awaken in order to have a complete awareness of Him in our life and in the material world. We are His creatures, and anything we may think or believe we are or have comes from Him and belongs to Him: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, may the Name of the Lord be praised.” (Job 1:21). This is the first step to start the process of getting to know Him.
The plague of the locusts represents the Creator’s ownership of our nourishment both material and spiritual, and the verse of its arrival is juxtaposed to His Commandment for Israel to serve Him:
The awareness of His absolute ownership and control is a premise to relate to Him according to His will, which is to serve Him. The main obstacle to assimilate and adopt this premise is ego and its desires, represented by Pharaoh and Egypt.
The following plague, darkness, is the material and spiritual experience of the complete absence of God’s Presence in our consciousness, which is also a direct consequence of ego’s blindness to give in to God’s love from where His creation comes:
“They [the Egyptians] did not see each other, and no one rose [moved] from his place for three days; but for all the children of Israel there was light in their dwellings.” (10:23)
This awareness (the light in the dwellings of the Israelites) of God’s Presence in His creation makes the difference between darkness and light. In this context ego is one dimension of consciousness that we also must direct to our full awareness of the Creator’s will:
“And Moses said [to Pharaoh], ‘You too shall give sacrifices and burnt offerings into our hands, and we will make them for the Lord our God’.” (10:25)
In our positive actions and deeds (“our hands”) we serve and honor God’s love, and ego is successfully directed not by good intentions but by good deeds. When we act in love’s ways and attributes, our positive actions don’t leave any room for materialistic fantasies and illusions. These seduce ego to take control of our life and lead us back to darkness, where we can’t see beyond ourselves.
Darkness is the result of ego’s agenda to make the world spin around its desires. In this sense, darkness is the worst of all the plagues because it prevents us to see beyond of who we think we are. In darkness we are really lost, and in this predicament we have no choice but to seek the light in order to be truly redeemed. This was the Creator’s preordained experience for us to move our consciousness towards the truth. Our sages teach that the darkness of exile is the beginning to search for the light of redemption.
The tenth and final plague is the death of the firstborn of those who denied the Creator’s ownership of His creation. The firstborn represents our primary intention in life along with its values, principles and goals, like the first fruits of the land that we must bring as offerings in the Temple. The Egyptians’ firstborns were inexorably dedicated to submit their lives to materialism without creating anything beyond the futility of ego’s illusions.
The firstborn is the first expansion of our human essence, as a reaffirmation of God’s love as the cause and effect of everything, including life. In this sense, we have to consecrate such expansion to love’s ways and attributes as the material manifestations of God’s love:
“Sanctify to Me every firstborn, every one that opens the womb among the children of Israel, among man and among animals; it is Mine.” (13:2)
After all, everything belongs to Him. When we consecrate our extensions to ego’s rule we are indeed “dead” before God’s love. The experience of our closeness to God’s love is the beginning of our freedom, and it is our first Commandment as Jews to commemorate the first of the months as a memorial of our liberation from darkness. The new moon as the beginning of the months, because we realize our true essence and identity when we reveal light out of darkness:
“And this day shall be for you as a memorial, and you shall celebrate it as a festival for the Lord; throughout your generations, you shall celebrate it as an everlasting statute.” (12:14)
This is the experience and legacy of our exile and bondage in darkness: to live the blessing of revealing light as our true identity when we cry out loud to God’s love to lead every aspect and dimension of consciousness in His ways and attributes.
Mystic Sages explain that the seven-day period to celebrate Pesach and Succot represents a continuing process through which we correct and elevate the seven primordial emotions known as loving kindness as compassion, power as self-control, truthfulness as enlightenment, perseverance as triumph, honor as glory, righteousness as the foundation of justice, and prevalence as sovereignty. When we are committed to practice these qualities on a daily basis as a moment to moment expression or our true identity, we are serving the Creator in order to fully reveal His Presence in the material world.
This knowledge we must have every moment, not only as a Commandment:
“And it shall be for a sign upon your hand (in what we do) and for ornaments between your eyes (in what we think, see and learn), for with a mighty hand did the Lord take us out of Egypt.” (13:16)
The permanent awareness of God’s love as our Creator and sole owner of all that exists. This includes the light He gives us to return to Him when we realize that we don’t belong to darkness in the realm of illusion, but to His love as the realm of truth. As individuals we must have the courage to “come to Pharaoh (ego)” and confront it with the full awareness that love is the real ruler of life from its beginning to its end, as God’s love is the ruler of His Creation.