The Ohev Yisrael: Shabbat HaGadol
The Ohev Yisroel says in his explanation of Shabbos Hagadol: [The Egyptians] would worship the constellation of “tleh” – the head of all the constellations, the b’chor (“firstborn”)
of all of them. Hashem slew all the b’chorim that were in Egypt, and that was the idea of the smiting of the firstborn…The idea of b’chor, is the first strength and starting point. It is the [level of] Chochma”.
We know that in the creation of the natural world, the level of Chochma was the first point of “creation”. In regard to the constellations – those realities that have become conduits for energies to enter the world – “Tleh” [literally, a young sheep] – is the fist and starting point of those conduits that comprises within it the essence of all the other constellations.
Before actually leaving Egypt, Hashem commanded the Jewish people to each take a sheep and constrain it. This represented the subjugation of the energies that were flowing into this physical world through the source constellation of tleh, and with that came a subjugation of all the additional conduits as well. In effect, this was a denunciation of the view that the world is totally governed by the laws of nature, because the intial basis for such a view is the understanding of the chochma and wisdom of how the enegies flow through the system of constellations. This view of the world was one that the Egyptians contended so strongly, that they allowed all the sheep in their country to move about without constraint. It was the basis of belief for the entire Egyption culture, and it was the secret of their stronghold.
The subjugation which took place on “Shabbos Hagadol” in the year that the Jews exited Egypt, was a necessary precedent to what would eventually be the decisive blow to the Egyptian culture and would simultaneously lead to the Geulah of the Jewish Nation – Makas Bechoros. By Hashem slaying the level of b’chor, it was revealed that there is a greater level than the costelations that governs the world, there is a greater level even than Chochma. Although the “firstborn” level of Chochma seems to be the “highest” level and the “starting point” of what we can grasp in creation, there exists a level even beyond it that really governs all – Hashem’s Ratzon.
This is the appropriate preparation before Pesach every year: to subjugate our level of grasp and Chochma to the level of Ratzon Hashem. Practically speaking this means, to work on subjugating our belief that the world is governed by the laws of nature, and to realize that only Hashem really controls of the constellations, all of the energies, all of the experiences that take place in our lives and in the entire world.