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Toledot Aharon: Shemot

The 17th of Tevet is the Yahrtzeit of Rabbi Aaron Zelig ben Yoel Feivush of Ostrog, Russia, author of Toledot Aharon. He died on December 31, 1754

“And these are the names of the Children of Israel who are coming to Egypt with Jacob, each man and his house came.” (Exodus 1:1) We can understand from this a path in the ways of God for all generations, for the Torah is eternal.

We know that there are 600,000 letters in the torah corresponding to the 600,000 root souls of the Children of Israel. Each soul has one letter in the Torah.

A letter alone has no way to be pronounced, and cannot be accessed or understood. The Torah of letters was an expression of God’s will to create the Torah with all the souls of Israel. Just as a letter alone cannot be understood, so too, the Torah of letters cannot be comprehended.

However, the purpose of Torah and Mitzvot is for it to be understood, used and obeyed. Therefore God created speech, and this speech expanded each letter. The “L” alone cannot be pronounced. However in speech the “L” becomes, “LaMeD” it joins with other letters and can be pronounced and accessed.

So too, our souls can expand through our Torah speech, and the expanded letters contain all the roots for a person’s soul, empowering him to achieve its purpose. “Kol haneshama tehalel Kah,” with each breath of speech we can praise God. It is the letter expanded through our breath of speech that directs us and protects us when we fall into the boundaries – the Mitzarim – of life that demand that we work in order to survive and feed our families. Owe all go down to Egypt, “who are coming to Egypt,” we all fall into the demands of this world and it is our names, the roots of our souls that call us back to God.

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