Shemos and Exodus


The second book of the Torah is called Shemos in Hebrew and Exodus in Greek.While the Greek name for this book seems to represent the theme of the Geulah (Redemption) from Egypt, the Hebrew seems more cryptic.

Shemos שְׁמוֹת

Shemos in Hebrew means Names. The book begins with the names of the Shevatim (Tribes), but can this really be the reason behind the naming of the second book of the Torah?

The reason that the book of Shemos is called such is because this is the book that Hashem’s ultimate name is revealed. This is the name YHVH known as the Tetragrammaton. The tradition of its exact vocalization has been hidden, and in the present time its vocalization is replaced with Adonai (אדני)

Parshas Vaera opens as follows

“And God spoke unto Moses, and said unto him: ‘I am the LORD (יהוה); and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, as God Almighty (אל), but by My name (יהוה) I made Me not known to them.”

The Lubavitcher Rebbe says in a sicha (Lamed Aleph – Parshas Vaera) that the Avos had nullified themselves to such a level that they were literally a Merkavah (Chariot) for Hashem and his Ratzon (Will). No matter what tests and challenges they experienced, they never questions Hashem or asked who he was to put them through such test. While this relationship works on a personal level, for the Jewish people as a whole it does not. This is why Hashem revealed this name to Moshe the leader of the Jewish people.

The name Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey represents transcendence. The prayer Adon Olam reveals how this transcendence manifests.

V’hu hayah v’hu hoveh V’hu yih’yeh
וְהוּא הָיָה וְהוּא הֹוֶה וְהוּא יִהְיֶה
He was, He is, and He will be

This name of Hashem represents Past, Present, and Future. It is above time and space and therefore is not bound by nature such as Hashem name Elokim (אֱלהִים) which is how the nations of the world connect to G-d.

This is why all blessings that we make begin with Blessed are you Hashem (יהוה)

(יהוה) has the ability to bring down G-dliness to a level that transcends nature. Using this name, a Jew is able to change the will of Hashem from one way to another.

An example is that G-d forbid someone is decreed to become ill. Through the prayer of a Jew the person can become better even though it is only natural that the person’s health should continue to decline indefinitely.

What is the power of (יהוה)?

Each letter of Hashem’s name (יהוה) connects to a different world and a different sefirah. Chassidus teaches that through meditation on Hashems name you are able to bring this blessing from Spiritual Potential to Physical Abundance.

The Yud: The tip of the yud represents the thorn of the sefira Keser (literally Crown) while the body of the yud represents Chochmah (Wisdom, explained as Koach Mah? What is?) This letter is small because these two seforos are beyond human intellect and only result in the initial flash that has no real substance. The letter Yud is contained in the world of Atzilus (World of Emanation) which is completely one with Hashem’s Ohr (light). Nothing in the world of Atzilus feels it has its own existence.

The Hey: represents Binah (Understanding) as it expands from the Yud/Chochmah into the large Hey. It is contained in the world of Beriah (World of Creation) where creation begins and existence feels itself as a separate being from Hashem yet still spiritual aware that all of existence is a part of Hashem. The Seraphim Angeles and the Divine Chariot are located in this world. The Spiritual Blessings form into Spiritual Potential for Children, Health, and Wealth, but can be lose in the spiritual if not properly brought down.

The Vav: represents Zer Anpin (the 7 emotional seforios: Chesed, Gevurah, Tiferes, Netzach, Hod, and Yesod) The Vav is long and thin as the blessings that have manifested in Beriah/Hey can now be brought down to the individual. The Vav is contained in the world of Yetzirah (World of Formation) where low-level angels like the Holy Chayos and Ophanim exist and the separation between G-d’s Essence and Creation really begins to be felt. While the emotional seforios can only be nullified to G-dly endeavors by the service of a Tzaddik, it is in the reach of a Benoni (Intermediate Individual) to have his emotional attributes influenced and directed by his Intellectual Attributes of Chochmah, Binah, and Daas (Wisdom, Understanding, and Knowledge).

The Final Hey: represents Nukvah/Malchus (Kingship). Malchus is represented by  אדני (Master) as we “M’Kabel Ol Malchus Shamayim” (take upon ourselves the Yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven). The Final Hey is found in Asiyah (World of Action). This is where the blessings of Hashem that manifested on a spiritual level in Beriah can manifest on a physical level in Asiyah.  אדני is found inside this Final Hey.

Practical Meditation

This information is vast and it is something that a person should become familiar with. The practical use of it is as follows.

Using the Alter Rebbe’s Edition of Nusach Ha-Ari-Zal with Hashem name written as

When saying YKVH a person should expand the two Yud’s into:

Visualize yourself connecting to the blessing of the mitzvah or prayer. Bring it into existence through the Yud of Chochmah in Atilus. Increase the blessings as you bring it into the Hey of Binah in Beriah. Channel it down to you through the Vav of Zer Anpin of Yetizrah. Turn over the spiritual blessing into physical through the final Hey of Malchus of Asiayh which connects to Ad-onai as you make Hashem Master and King over you.

The meditation will take time but with diligence it will become powerful and connect you to the blessing and iy”H bring down all the blessings that we want and need with the final blessing of Moshiach Tzidekeinu B’Karov Mamash!


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