In Exodus 10:13 we read "No Man saw his brother, nor did anyone rise from his place" which refers to the nature of the plague of darkness which was cast upon the Egyptian people by the hand of Hashem. We can learn so much from Torah, what then can we learn from this?

The darkness described is comparable to a spiritual darkness which can plague us all. On so many occasions we can be guilty of being unable to see our brother; how complacently we engage life concentrating so much on our self enhancement and culture that we become blind to the actions of our fellow man. We are sometimes guilty of not being able to see the needs of our colleagues in creation, our fellow souls created, just as we , in the image of Hashem and it is a sad, sad thing. If we only tried to pierce this darkness with the light of true Torah teachings we may be able to see that our responsibilities lie not just with ourselves but with those around us. The concepts of Chesed, Tzedakah and Tikkun Olam, to name but a few, urge us to see those around us, realise their needs and cater for them.

The second half of the passuk directs our attention back onto ourselves. In describing how nobody rose from their place we are able to reflect on the parts of our character which tell us how we are sometimes guilty of becoming complacent in the level we have reached be it mentally, morally or spiritually. We are all able to contiuously rise from our place, constantly seeking a greater level and a higher achievement. The moment we stop reaching for a higher level is the moment we become engulfed in our own darkness, stagnating and resolving to wallow in our complacency. There is always a next step, a new level and a greater station to rise to and it is our yetzer hora, constantly whispering sweet nothings in our ear which maintains that we have reached an adequate level. It is our yetzer tov, however, that strives and struggles to tell us that we are capable of being more than what we are. Hashem, in his infinite wisdom, plagued the Egyptians with physical darkness to teach their leader a lesson. Hashem uses spritual darkness to teach us a lesson too - pay attention to your fellow man and never, ever stop growing.

Inspired by Zalman Posner, Chabad.

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