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Rav Yosef Karo: Moshe Speaking With The Shechina

And God spoke to Moses and said to him, “I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El Shaddai [God Almighty], but with My Name, “Hashem”, I was not known to them” (Exod. 6:2-3).

Moses had spoken harshly before the Shechina [about the worsened situation of the Children of Israel]; therefore, “Vayidaber Elokim,” meaning that the Shechina that is called Elokim [this term implies severity] spoke to him in a more severe tone, complaining. He said: “I send abundance from abundance that comes to me from the top of the emanation. Therefore, you should treat me with respect. Also, you have to honor me because the heh’, that is, tiferet, gives me abundance. As it says:“Vayomer eilav, Ani Hashem,”  , the word “Vayomer,”“and He said” hint at Knesset Israel” as he said “I,” Knesset Israel (for it is so called), “am uniting with the heh, which is tiferet, that receives abundance from me, and therefore you must treat me with respect.”

“I appeared to Abraham” etc.— now tiferet is speaking. “You must treat malchut with honor because My upper sefirot give illumination through the three sefirotchesed, gevura, and tiferet—that are within malchut, the aspect of Abraham. Only by means of the sefirot of malchut, can people attach themselves to My upper sefirot. We have here the secret of the three forefathers who constitute the foundation (yesod) of all the sefirot.”

Afterwards it says: “B’kail Sha-ddai,” which hints at yesod and at Knesset Israel, indicating that the upper yesod and malchut give illumination through these two sefirot of malchut below. “Ushmi Hashem lo nodati,” the word “sh’mi,” is in the secret of “Ani Hashem, hu sh’mi u’k’vodi, u’liacher lo etain,” (Isa. 42:8) “I am the Lord; that is My Name; I shall not give My glory to another.” These words were said about the three upper sefirot to where the Sitra Achra do not rise. Here he said “My Name,” meaning that its [the Sitra Achra’s] three upper sefirot also receive abundance from My three upper sefirot, but in a secret way that I have not made known. “I was not known to them”—‘them’ refers to the external creatures, for they have no grasp at all of the three upper sefirot. Therefore it does not say: ‘I did not appear to them,’ which would signify that they did not see, but that they knew. The Holy Torah specified, “I was not known” to indicate that the external creatures have no knowledge at all concerning the three upper sefirot.

With regard to Abraham, etc., the verb “to see” is used, for he had knowledge of the secret of the Divine Chariot and it was as if they could see the Divine Chariot with their eyes.

“Also, I established My covenant with them.” This is the secret of yesod: it attaches him to the sefira of Matronita (Shechina), i.e., the word “Itam,” refers to both of them. “To give them the land of Canaan,” that is, to give the sefira of malchut below a link to the upper sefirot that are called “land of Canaan” because whoever attaches himself to the upper sefirot subjugates materialism and corporeality.  

“The land of their sojournings.” This signifies that this is for the purpose of unification. It is the land of their sojournings, i.e., malchut emerged from the ten sefirot, and it serves as the vessel for everyone as I have taught you. Therefore it must unite with them.

“Also, I heard,” alluding to the fact that therefore I, i.e., Knesset Israel, will unite with it, meaning, “I paid attention” with the same meaning as the word “pay attention to me.” “I have paid attention to the cry of the Children of Israel” etc., signifying that their cry has come to Me, as it is written: (Ps. 91:15 ) “I am with him in distress.” For that reason  “I have remembered My covenant,” that is, remembered to unite with him.

“Therefore, say,” etc. “I shall take you out…I shall rescue you,” etc. In correspondence with the four words connected to Redemption, we drink four cups of wine on Passover, and they correspond to the four legs of the Divine Chariot which has three legs of the three forefathers, and a fourth leg which is Knesset Israel.

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