The Ten Lessons

One of the most difficult elements of the Passover story for me has always been the ten plagues. As a child I was terrified at the description of a God who would administer such suffering. As I studied the mystical interpretations of these events I found a deeper meaning that has helped me hold these archetypal elements in a way that brings me closer to spirit.
The world was created with ten Divine statements.
The ten statements of creation brought the world into being
in a manner in which the energy of spirit
that maintains its existence
was hidden.
The ten plagues were actually ten lessons
that sought to break through
the veils of concealment
and allow for
the revelation
of that
Divine power
to enter our consciousness
through the giving of
the Ten Commandments,
the Ten Precepts.
-Rabbi Yehudah Arieh Leib of Gur.

According to this mystical interpretation, each lesson or plague shattered an illusion of human power over nature and of the powers of idolized gods, thus revealing that there was a single Divine force at work in the world. Once all ten lessons occurred, the human ego (Pharaoh) surrendered its control to the higher Self (Moses) and the rest of the human psyche (the children of Israel) so that the mind and heart of each person who was to receive the Ten Precepts would be open to receiving them.

This process was created by the Divine to establish a profound experience for humanity to aid in the awakening of the Divine self within all beings. It was a symbolic and a literal example of Divine principles at work within the individual, collective, and unitive heart and mind. To this end, the Divine led the children of Israel, the Awakening Self, into the land of bondage/narrowness (Egypt/Mitzrayim) with the intention of freeing them by means of the Ten Lessons.

And the Divine “…hardened Pharaoh’s heart in order to have the opportunity to display many miraculous signs and wonders in the land of narrowness;” (Exodus 7:3) proving the existence of the one true Source of Life and shattering the belief in false gods and human powers.
These are the Ten Lessons
that the Divine
brought upon the land of Mitzrayim, 

the consciousness of narrowness;
each lesson revealing
a Divine aspect
of creation:

Lesson/Plague (Hebrew) Lesson/Plague (English) Represented Divine Aspects of Creation
Dom Blood All sustenance comes from the Divine
Tzifardeyah Frogs All support comes from the Divine
Keenim Lice All integrity comes from the Divine
Arov Wild Beasts All endurance comes from the Divine
Dever Pestilence All beauty comes from the Divine
Shicheen Boils All justice comes from the Divine
Barahd Hail All mercy comes from the Divine
Arbeh Locusts All understanding comes from the Divine
Choshech Darkness All wisdom comes from the Divine
Makat Bichorot Death of Firstborn All life and death comes from the Divine


Buber, M. (1947). Ten Rungs. New York: Citadel Press.

Kaplan, M. A. (2003). A Mystical Passover: A Transformational Passover Haggadah. Pacific Grove, CA: Original Gravity.

Touger, E. (1988). The Chassidic Haggadah. New York: Moznaim Publishing.

*Image: The Ten Plagues
*Originally published on KabbalahBlog hosted by

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