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Article "And They Built Store-Cities" - Lesson 1

Shamati, Article #86
Lesson by Rav Michael Laitman, Bnei Baruch, Israel
October 19, 2006
Lecturer: Michael Laitman, PhD

We are reading in the book Shamati, Article #86: And They Built Store-Cities.

The writing says (Exodus 1): “And they built for Pharaoh store-cities,[1] Pithom and Raamses.”

Baal HaSulam describes in this article that same descent, decline, and the states that occur to those who want to reach the purpose of creation. We understand that it’s possible to reach the purpose of creation only if a person overcomes his egoistic will to receive which constantly is reawakened in a person. That egoistic desire seemingly draws a person back, but it’s a “help against him,” that’s what it’s called, and it is only intended for a person to overcome it and come closer to the Creator, to the goal, to Dvekut (Adhesion).

A person should see that within the will to receive, by overcoming that quantity and quality, in that form in which it suddenly awakens in a person and throws him into darkness, misunderstandings, hopelessness, despair and powerlessness (within that same form, and the same size, and the same manners), he builds his attitude towards the Creator. When one overcomes the deficiencies that the desire brings into his life—the decline and the falls, it allows one to reach the corrected ego, bestowal and spirituality.

This is why these states are so prevalent within us, and they come according to the pace that one can handle, overcome them and work with them correctly. And here, Baal HaSulam describes how a person should relate to those declines and falls: this is how he calls them in the beginning. Only afterwards, he sees that it comes to him to give him a chance to transcend. As it says, “Pharaoh brought Israel closer to our Father in Heaven,” so Pharaoh, who is an additional will to receive of the greatest size, when it’s awakened and comes in a person, through it a person comes closer to the Creator.

We should ask, “Pithom and Raamses means that they are beautiful cities, while the words Arei Miskenot imply poverty and meagerness, and they also imply danger?” And we must also understand what Abraham the Patriarch asked, “Whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it” (Genesis 15; 8)?

Abraham investigated how a person could enter spirituality, the purpose of creation, and that dimension where he can live eternally and wholly (which is the Creator’s purpose in creating man). So he was perplexed as to how a person who is powerless and with his substance, can reach that height of being like a Giver, like the One who loves, like the Creator? So, that was meant by his question, “How will I know that I shall inherit it?”

It means that “I, Abraham with my little Aviut (coarseness) , which now appeared in me, found the way to discover You and cling to You. But my sons, meaning those who will have a greater Aviut, how will they know, how will they be able to overcome and cling to You? How will I know that I shall inherit it? It means that the inheritance is really how to acquire the quality of bestowal.”

What did the Creator reply? It is written, “And He said unto Abram: Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them, and they shall afflict them four hundred years.”

Four hundred is the entire Aviut of the Kli (vessel), which contains four degrees of Aviut. And “thy seed shall be a stranger” means that those who want to enter the land of Israel to be attached to the Creator, to the degree of Bina through which he later on comes to the degree of Keter, he will have to feel himself as a stranger. At first he has to experience the heaviness of the will to receive and by overcoming it, he’ll have to acquire it with the intention of Israel. Then, he’ll reach the correction of the desire that will awaken in him through Pharaoh, and through it will cling to the Creator.

The literal meaning is hard to understand, since the question was that he wanted guarantees on the inheritance, and there is no apparent guarantee in the Creator’s answer, that your seed will be in exile, which means that this was a sufficient answer for him.

Why did Abraham settle for being told, “Don't worry, I'll bring man down?” We either have to speak within one body or at least as one inquiring about the other. There're two states. Since Abraham knows what is happening to him, why is he asking what will happen in other states? So why is the decline in the will to receive, to exile, to ruthlessness, to Aviut already a guarantee that a person will reach the goal? What is it about this exile in which we are completely disconnected, have no sensation and intellect, nothing works and a person feels completely dead, what is it about it that a person can be certain that he will pass this phase and reach the goal? What is it about this guarantee? What guarantee is there in the decline?

Moreover, we see that when Abraham had a long argument with the Creator regarding the people of Sodom, he kept saying “perhaps.” Here, however, when the Creator said that his seed will be in exile, he immediately received it as a sufficient answer, and did not argue and said, “perhaps?” Instead, he accepted it as a guarantee on the inheritance of the land.

This means that we see that a person always asks or should ask what, how, and why? How can I be certain? Why not? Why yes? And a person insists until he finally understands what happens to him like Abraham with Sodom. To what extent, precisely can I be connected to these desires to receive and to what extend can I scrutinize them and correct them? And then whenever I won't be able to correct them anymore, I'll leave them; I'll draw further away from them which can be my correction too.

Like the case with Abraham and Sodom. He went all the way to the degree he could, scrutinizing and correcting these desires called Sodom. And when he couldn't continue further, because he saw that the force of Bina, didn't get attached to these desires, he limited himself and left from there. But here, he didn't go to check excessively the guarantees in the exile, in the decline. For the decline by itself is the guarantee that afterwards there will be an ascent and the person will reach the goal. How so? In the decline we don't have to overcome? Do we have to do something? But in the decline itself are all of the elements and all of the supports required for a person to certainly come out of that decline into the Light.

We must understand this answer, and we must also understand what the meaning is that the Zohar interprets about the text, “Pharaoh drew nigh,” saying that he drew them toward repentance. Can it be that evil Pharaoh would want to bring them closer to repentance?

It means, “what is it about the egoistic will to receive in order to receive?” The will to receive in itself is neither good nor bad; it's the substance of creation. The Light, the intention, the Masach (screen), and the Returning Light that fell into the will to receive during the breaking, adds the qualities of bestowal to the will to receive. And then the will to receive knows that through the bestowal it can receive more than just mere reception. By that, it steals the height of the Giver.

It’s not by pure hazard that a person receives something he deserves in order to exist. Necessity is according to what his will to receive determines as necessity. But if the person begins to feel the Giver, he begins to enjoy the qualities of the Giver, the love of the Giver and the attitude of the Giver. He begins to enjoy the size and the importance of the Giver. It's not just somebody who serves me but, “Look, who is serving me.” And that's the greatest addition that comes to the will to receive as pleasures beyond the necessary.

We also learn from other examples. We say that there are pleasures that are for food, sex, family—physical pleasures, in which there is a limit as to how much one can overdo. But social pleasures (money, honor, power, knowledge) are things that a person acquires from the society, at the expense of the society and at the expense of the other Kelim (vessels). Whereas, instead of loving them and contributing to them or at least being detached from them, he begins to receive from them, meaning to enjoy from being in the other Kelim.

This means that he uses the system of the souls in order to receive. If he is by himself locked within himself, that's one thing. But if he uses other souls to receive from them—there are huge Kelim and Lights in them—this comes to him as a connection to these souls.

We call it the intention to receive or to bestow. According to this intention his Kelim grows as he uses the external Kelim. And then he really enjoys (to the extent that he can enjoy) ordinarily, in his body and also from Gadlut, from these great Kelim that are outside of him, the Kelim of the environment, of humanity. That's how it is with the Kelim that Pharaoh adds to us.

In order to understand all that, we must understand what our sages said (Sukkah, 52; 71): “Rabbi Yehuda says: At the end of days, the Creator brings the evil inclination and slaughters it before the righteous and before the wicked. To the righteous it seems like a high mountain, and to the wicked it seems as a thread of a hair’s breadth. These cry and those cry.

This means that either the righteous or the wicked have the same conditions, the same will to receive appears in them, the internal and external. But still there are two states.

The righteous cry, saying ‘How could we conquer such a high mountain?’ and the wicked cry, saying ‘How could we not conquer this thread of a hair’s breadth?’’”

This verse is perplexing through and through:

  1. If the evil inclination has already been slaughtered, how are there still wicked?

  2. Why do the righteous cry? Quite the contrary, they should have been happy!

  3. How can there be two opinions in reality when they have both arrived at the state of truth? This verse speaks of the end of days, which is certainly a state of truth, so how can there be such a difference in reality between a thread of a hair’s breadth and a high mountain?

In the state where the person reaches the end of his correction, and when from that end he looks back at what he’s got in his Kelim, he discovers within these Kelim two completely contrary discernments: from the Kelim that were seemingly called wicked (in the past of course not now), that are now corrected, and the Kelim that are called righteous. He sees how much he did and didn’t overcome, acquired and didn't acquire, meant and didn't mean, and reached the Gmar Tikkun (End of Correction) that he is in now. He sees all that from the beginning of the way to its end, Gmar Tikun.

When he scrutinizes his situation at the end of the way, he still seemingly can't understand with his healthy mind, from within the Kelim themselves, how it is possible to make the corrections in the ordinary, realistic, healthy manner, according to human calculations. Because this whole path by which he was progressing from degree to degree, was constantly with an effort above reason, as it is said, “not in my strength and the might of my hand gave me these riches.”

This means that he constantly needed support above his own calculations. Therefore, according to every calculation he discovered that he cannot overcome his desire. And that on the one hand, a person has no means to conquer even the smallest adjacent spiritual degree. Whereas, on the other hand, when he went with Dvekut, with the quality of bestowal, detached from his own calculations and all kinds of assumptions of his, then he discovered in it the ability to transcend nature with the strength that he found through, “I labored and found” and thus, he constantly acquired more and more spiritual degrees, spiritual states, more progressive, until he reached Gmar Tikkun.

When he looks back at the previous states again, then he judges and sees how according to the rational mind, of course it is utterly impossible to correct the ego. Because how can a person exit it if that's the whole him? It's only possible to do that by finding the connection with the quality of faith above reason, which then gives one the possibility to jump, rise, become detached from one's nature and connect to another intention, to bestowal.

Of course, all of these calculations, and tests, and comparisons can only be made in the end of the way, not in the beginning. Because in the beginning the way looks entirely corrupted and confused, and he can't add any element that will be arranged and connected to another. It all comes apparently, without any rime and reason. And even if he does find some reason in there, it's completely independent of him. So that makes him similarly become powerless.

That's why the righteous too cry, “How could we do that?” Because they too discover that it is not their work at all; we couldn't do it. And the wicked too, as they see it, ask, “Why couldn't we do it by ourselves?” “Why did it seem so bad to us?” Then, it seemed to us as a high mountain. But now, we see it's not at all a problem.”

Every moment a person is different. A person in a state of ascent is different from that same person in a state of descent. Seemingly, we have two different people and we see how these states are detached from one another in us as if I am a different person. So even at Gmar Tikkun, if they (the two people within a person in two different states) look, they cannot connect these two things, (the descents or the ascents), together, because of the break (disconnection, detachment) between them for sure remains and even expands.

Let's put it this way. When a person ascends from, “in order to receive to in order to bestow,” while he is in a state of embryo, it's like one millimeter high. But to jump from, “in order to receive to in order to bestow,” for those who are still progressing that's like advancing 125 degrees. That's his “above reason” that he has to overcome.

As Rabash told me as an example; a friend gives you an empty envelope and says, “There is a thousand dollars in there.” And you take it; you’re sure you'll find it there. You don’t shut your eyes or something. Nine hundred and ninety nine dollars are missing; one dollar is there. Okay, you seemingly don't have the degree of 125th degree but 124. You constantly have to jump to a higher level. And it's not that you jump by one millimeter and another millimeter above the degree you’re in. You decline entirely; you loose all the degrees. And then you don't jump a little bit but the whole measure of all the degrees.

And this is why when we criticize the states at the beginning and the end of the way even from the final state, the gap between in order to receive and in order to bestow, between the “within reason and above reason,” remains. That's the infinite gap that a person has now acquired and that's why both cry. And then neither understands how they have reached the end, because that detachment remains. If there was a connection between “reason” and “above reason,” a problem would be resolved rationally and the person would understand how it happened. He didn't see the whole system but now he does see the whole system.

But this actually is never resolved; there is no connection between these two forms of nature. Between them there is always the “existence from absence,” the detachment that remains forever. Only within a person, within one's own system do these two systems exist. He steps by himself on the one, “in order to receive,” and builds on top of it, “in order to bestow.” Detach means that there is no connection between the two. But the replication or the oppositeness of form remains.

Question: So, when we learn that there is a correction of the mistakes and then of sins, from the past from the four degrees…

The mistakes and the sins that become merits still exist; nothing disappears. They exist in a way to sustain and to give sustenance to the sanctity in a person. You see that they cry not for the present state; they cry for a state in the past. How could we not or how could we acquire this?” The righteous cry “how could we acquire” because they don't understand how they could. Where was the solution? In “I labored and found.” And the wicked cry, “How come we couldn't?” It means they still don't understand the solution. Why they could not get along with the ego?

This means that these two forms determine the preliminary state and when you look at it from the final state; they remain. When you are at the end, in Gmar Tikkun and all of us are corrected—there are no righteous nor wicked—but only the previous acts. So the lack of connection between these two states of righteous and wicked remains and one sustains the other. The oppositeness of form remains; a person doesn't become an angel and he doesn't become the Creator. He remains with his will to receive and with his apparent Klipot (shells) and on top of them is his entire effort. His recognition, his understanding, and his sensation come out from the gap between these two states. Where are my vessels of reception?

The vessels of reception are not in bestowal, they are in the gap between the “in order to receive” and “in order to bestow.” Where do I begin to know the Creator? From a state that I am the worst, opposite from Him and He puts that form into me, then I overcame it and made the opposite of that form. As the case with a glove that I pull out and turn upside down: when I have a certain form and I make of it the opposite form as if within imprint. Within imprint, in our world it’s in a different substance, it's like something else.

So the previous form, the corrupted form, and the corrected form should remain. And in that oppositeness between them, are the letters of the work. That's where we feel, that's where we understand, that's where our whole perception is, and that’s where our existence is.

If that gap is lost, it's not the level of Ein Sof. It has to remain by supporting the corrected state. And this is why even while being in Gmar Tikkun the righteous and the wicked from the past exist. And the gap between them (of course all this happens in one person) is what gives them the depth of the Kli, which is the weeping from the past and the joy from the end. You can't have one without the other.

He explains this with the words of our sages (there): “Rabbi Assi says: ‘In the beginning, the evil inclination seems like spider-web, and in the end, it seems like cart-ropes,’ for it is said, ‘Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope’ (Isaiah 5).”

There is a great rule we must know. Our work, which was given to us so as to be a basis for faith above reason, is not because we are unworthy of a high degree. Hence, this was given to us so as to take it all in a vessel of faith. It appears to us as ignominy and worthlessness, and we are anxious for the time when we can rid ourselves of this burden, called “faith above reason.”

Actually, we don't know what it is. A person can't feel it. Everything he builds or does, he does within reason or builds it on top of his reason according to his calculations, sensations and that's what he has. Of course, how can he feel or understand or calculate according to the elements that are not in him? This is why it is called the miracle, the miracle of the exodus from Egypt, “taste and see,” “I labored and found.” When he acquires different Kelim, where instead of feeling himself and calculating with what he feels and understands what he feels in his mind and heart, that are connected to, let’s say, vessels number one, he begins to understand, calculate, and feel in vessels number two that are outside of him.

And that transition is called the exodus from Egypt and the jump from within reason to above reason. Before that it is impossible to understand how such a thing can happen because a person goes from one world to another, from one dimension to another. And this is why we are only in preparation for that state. And according to the quality and quantity of the effort that a person makes, the Light operates. And the accumulation of its actions on a person comes to a point where a person jumps from calculations and sensations within his own Kelim to calculations and sensations in the Kelim of others.

However, it is a great and very important degree [above reason], whose sublimity is immeasurable.

The reason it appears to us as ignominy is because of the will to receive in us.

That we are in calculations for ourselves is a condition that we are in, it just exist in us. When we switch to calculations in order to bestow we don't understand how we could calculate in order to receive. If we are in order to receive, we can't understand how we can calculate in order to bestow. The gap between Klipa (shell) and Kedusha (sanctity) that exists in the spiritual world is so contradictory that Pharaoh and Moses exist within a person until the third writing comes and decides between them.

So these things come on one hand, as the nature of the Creator and on the other, as the nature of the creature, as existence and as absence. And a person who grows between them, who builds himself between them by wanting to incorporate these two states together in order to cling to the root, not to what comes from the root, but so that he would build himself similar to the root, that's already the third element.

This element doesn’t come from the creature where the creature is either given the sensation of, “in order to receive” or “in order to bestow,” but he takes them and builds something third, the human in him. This is our whole work. It means that it's not enough that we switch to sensations above reason but it's how we use them in those possibilities that come to us.

Thus, we must discern a Rosh (Head) and a Guf (Body) in the will to receive. The Rosh is called knowing, and the Guf is called receiving. Because of that, we consider everything that is against knowing as low and beastly.

Now we can interpret what Abraham the Patriarch asked, “Whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?” How would it be possible for them to accept the burden of faith, since it is against reason, and who can go against reason?

This means that above reason is detached from a person. A person does not have any connection, the tiniest thread that can connect him to the above reason through which he can somehow connect and draw stronger and tighter connection, or any kind of beginning; it's completely detached.

Completely detached in spirituality means opposite. So a person doesn't even have the beginnings of the elements, the means through which he can somehow come close or even approach the above reason. It's a calculation in the mind, and in the way of thoughts, and importance. None of these exist in us; we can't even imagine what they are like. So that is the question, “How can you set a goal, which a person has no means to reach?” And “how can he even know in which direction to come close to it?” So what does the Creator answer?

Thus, how will they come to be granted the Light of faith, since perfection depends on that alone?

The Creator answered him, “Know of a surety etc. that they will be in exile.” This means that He had prepared a Klipa (shell), which is the evil inclination, an evil person, Pharaoh king of Egypt. The letters of the word Pharaoh are like the letters of the word Oref[2] (back of the neck).

The Ari wrote (Shaar HaKavanot for Pesach) that Pharaoh is considered the Oref of Egypt. [3]He would suck out the abundance that comes to the lower ones with his question (Exodus 5; 2), “Who is the Lord that I should hearken unto His voice?” By this very question, they are at the hands of the Klipot (shells), as the RAMBAM says (Hilchot Deot), regarding not turning to idol gods, that with this approach alone, meaning with the very question, the prohibition on turning to them is already broken.

This means that there is help in this seemingly negative form. That's how it appears to a person. Because a person is in the will to receive so he feels something negative in his situation. And that negativity, that negative sensation comes to a person in a form and size that match precisely the help that will push him forward in the right direction. We just have to see what one should do and how he can identify that this actually helps is thus Pharaoh, king of Egypt that will appear in a person. That terrible sensation makes his life heavy, narrows his mind, blocks his heart.

How will I identify that it is Pharaoh? And in a way, with strength, size, quantity and quality—everything that now increases in me: the heaviness of the heart, and the mind, all kinds of confusions and the intensifying ego that makes me drawn to all kinds of things that previously I was not in before. How do I see that this is this Pharaoh and what should I do? Or would Pharaoh with his actions, will he push me in the right direction? Or maybe I have something beyond it that I should do? Or maybe in these states he will operate on me and I will run according to my nature to some place from the affliction or because there is maybe little pleasures there and I will reach the goal.

This means that we don't really have to criticize and ask what the Creator does around us, or with us. But does anything depend on us or not? If it's not, then do whatever He does and whatever happens. Maybe the most important thing for me to know is at which point in my evolvement can I affect, can I benefit and accelerate the way of my evolvement? So that's the question.

Of course, we are not talking about the whole system because a person is still before it. The system is above him and operates on him. But it's about how he merges with it and how he can assist. That's the question and not about attainment of what happens to me, and understanding it. Of course, before I grow I can't know what being grown means. Once I am grown up, I'll know what it means to be a baby, what I went through. And to the extent that I am a grown up now, when I grown more I will understand more. One can always study the lower degree once he is in an upper one. So that's what Abraham asks. And what's the answer that he gets?

The evil inclination wishes to suck abundance from the Kedusha (Sanctity). Thus, what does it do to suck abundance from the Kedusha? The writing tells us, “and Pharaoh drew nigh.” The Zohar interprets that he brought them nigh to repentance. It asks: How can we say that Pharaoh brought them close to repentance, if the conduct of the Klipot is to turn one away from the Creator?

Well,it'sas we said; I am just saying it a little sooner. If I receive with the intention to receive, it actually gives me the same sanctity inverted. The Light that operates the will to receive imprints itself in the will to receive in its opposite form. Where do the Klipot come from? From Kedusha, and that's why Kedusha sustains them. Where do they come from? The whole system of the Klipot comes from the breaking of the vessels where the Lights want to enter the will to receive and the will to receive, receives from them this intention to receive and that created the Klipot. It is when the will to receive felt it could exploit the Creator, the source of pleasures, in order to receive.

All of that came from that source of the Light. Therefore this is why Pharaoh, meaning, the intentions to receive that appear in a person, when they appear it is a sign that a person can somehow in his effort, in the situation, within the conditions that he builds for himself with the group and the studies etc. can turn them (this intention to receive) to be in order to bestow. But he already has some substance that now he just has to process it correctly to receive Kedusha from it.

Of course, this oppositeness from in order to receive to in order to bestow is a miracle. It is the work that the Light should do. But it does that because of the cries; and the people of Israel saw it by reason of the bondage.

That future form exists in a person, it's just opposite. That's why it says that “Pharaoh brought the children of Israel to our Father in Heaven,” because he is that opposite form of the Creator, Pharaoh himself. He's the king of the land and he says, “Who is the Lord that I should hearken unto His voice?” because I am that form inverted; I am the king. And it is only his inversion in the same form, “in order to bestow” that makes the Pharaoh the Upper Force, the Creator. That's why Pharaoh’s appearance within a person means that a person comes closer to the Sanctity to the extent that he feels himself opposite in these states.

Question: I didn’t understand what should I do when Pharaoh appears in me? How does it bring me closer to? It distances me with questions of “Who is the Lord that I should hear his voice…. ”?

We see in all the degrees that if a person has an egoistic desire that is excessive and results specifically from the study of the Torah, that makes one's heart heavy and distances him from the goal. So first of all, that's the influence of the Light on the will to receive. What should one do? Add more effort in the right direction. That's all there is. Our direction should always be forward. The fact that we are in process when we come closer and make an effort in one direction, we feel ourselves in decline is because only now do we understand the situation we are really in. When we discover the right state within us, how opposite we are from the Sanctity, it gives us an additional effort in that same direction to invert that form into the right one.

The difference between Klipa and Kedusha is only in order to receive and in order to bestow. If in order to receive appears to you, it’s a sign you’re coming closer to its opposite, to in order to bestow.

Question (cont'd): But then the question returns in the next state, in a stronger form.

Of course, in every degree, in every situation that's how it is.

Question (cont'd): So I did not do anything with it.

You did with it what you did. Now, a greater Pharaoh appears to you. As he says, “Don't give them bricks, let them do it by themselves”—another blow and another blow until they finish all the ten primary plagues, all of the desires within a person which he decides not to escape from there. Before that, he thinks that he can still somehow get on with the Pharaoh with his ego, that he can be both in Kedusha and in Pharaoh. He still doesn't see that the will to receive that appears in him is utterly evil.

Question (cont'd): I don't understand this thing about actually the same question, the same disturbance, Pharaoh, constantly returning in all kinds of ways. And the same resistance you have to bestow, constantly returning it’s as if you never really took care of it. But as you said, one adds effort in a different place.

Why in a different place? Maybe your question is, “when I discover my ego and my will receive, I discover it corresponding to my connection with the others. I discover it as not appreciating my society, or of anything that’s outside of me; the human society, or the Creator. And I can't directly connect to them because I’m repelled by it, it disgusts me. So then how do I add effort? Not directly and clearly because my will to receive doesn't let me do that. But I have to do something, not with intentions to connect to others but in actions. Because I am at such a degree, that I can do things without intention, without a desirable intention.”

I go to the kitchen, I disseminate, I do something, and from these actions I connect to the society and the society effects me. I don't have the strength to talk to them about the connection between us with respect to the Creator, from the level of man to the level of others. I can't be in it; I am detached and I am in something completely opposite. But in superficial actions at least, I can begin to connect and from that, I can begin to receive from them the inspiration that exists in them. Like an unhealthy cell that is among healthy cells in a body and the healthy cells influence it and they cure it.

I participate to the extent that I can. And where I can't, there I stop myself, I don't want to think anything bad about them and about the Creator. So as much as I can, I correct my Kelim and if I can't, I keep them on hold. Afterwards, there will be different kinds of work.

So there are moments when a person is completely detached, where he can't even move his finger physically. And then the “dead are free,” he is not asked to do anything. But the society should then bury him—it's his correction. Burial—to bring him from his house to the study hall, have him sit down, give him a cup of coffee and let him wake up slowly. That’s the task of society. If one worked at it before, if he invested in it before, he deserves to receive support from them in return.

[1] Translator’s note: the word combination “store-cities” is not used in Hebrew, but the words Arei Miskenot, implying poverty and (phonetically) danger.

[2] In Hebrew.

[3] The Ari divides the Hebrew word for Egypt— Mitzraim—into two words: Metzar Yam, meaning Narrow Sea.

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