“When you make an altar of stones for Me, don’t build them hewn, lest you wave your sword over it and defile it.”
~ Exodus 20:22
The commandment to build the altar comes with a specific stipulation: no sword should even be waved over the stones, let alone cut them.
Because the altar was created to lengthen life, yet the sword is used to shorten it.
That which is contradictory to purpose should not be utilized during construction.
When you build something in your own life, don’t let your greed seduce you into compromising the very principles you want to apply when it’s completed.
“Hashem said to Moses: ‘Why are you crying out to Me!? Speak to the Children of Israel and let them go forward.”
~ Exodus 9:32
Trapped between the sea and the Egyptians, the Jews cry out. God tells them to move onwards.
But why call them “the Children of Israel” – that’s redundant!?
Because they needed to see for themselves, that for the sea to split, no further preparation was needed. Who they were and where they came from was sufficient.
Life’s journey is full of tollgates. Don’t look for alternative routes. Drive on – you have everything you need to open the road, already in yourself.
“The entire congregation of the assembly of Israel shall slaughter it.”
~ Exodus 12:6
Just as today we experience the Pesach Seder communally, so too the original Pesach offering was observed collectively.
But how did so many people all slaughter one little lamb?
They didn’t. Only one person did the slaughtering, but since he was designated to act on their behalf, he represented everyone. Clearly, an agent is equivalent to his appointer.
When we heed the advice of those who guide us we become their agents, and consequently, we become like them. Choose wisely.
“And the wheat and the spelt were not struck for they ripen later.”
~ Exodus 9:32
The seventh plague to strike Egypt was a hailstorm which destroyed everything outdoors, except the wheat and spelt crops.
How did their ripening-time save them?
Since they hadn’t matured, the seedlings were bendable, allowing them to absorb the force of the hail without being broken or uprooted.
Life is full of storms.
The only way to weather them – without breaking or being blown hither and thither – is to be supple. This means remaining grounded while being flexible enough to change.