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From darkness to redemption

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Posted: Wednesday, February 1, 2017 12:46 pm

What causes darkness to instill psychological angst into the hearts of children and adults alike?

In this week’s Torah portion, we learn about the penultimate plague: that of a complete, enveloping darkness upon the land of Egypt (choshech). The placement and essence of this plague is most fascinating, both as a display of Divine power and as a pedagogical construct. What is it about this plague that makes it so heart-rending? After all, don’t we all experience roughly half of each day cocooned by darkness? Why should anyone continue to be afraid of the dark? The answer, I believe, is a stark one. Darkness, in all its many forms, represents the infinite gap between the self and the other. There is no measurement for space or time in the dark, merely endless aloneness and despair.

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