Seasons of the Moon Imagine a world where, when you turn on the light, darkness shines from the lamp. Imagine a world where, when you close the shutters and nothing can penetrate from the outside, the room would be "pitch white." Imagine a world where darkness is not the absence of light, but light is the absence of darkness.

The first men and women who walked the earth had no doubt of god's existence. However, in the time of Enosh, Adam's grandson, people started to make mistakes about god. Some denied that there was a god at all. others conceded the existence of a Divine Power, but said that He was so removed and exalted that He only had knowledge of the spiritual realm, but didn't know what was going on down in this world. They admitted His transcendence but denied His immanence. Yet a third group admitted that god knows what is happening in these lower realms, but He isn't interested in what we do. In other words, He created the universe and then, as it were, went off to play golf.

God decided once and for all to quash these mistaken ideas: He would bring a series of miraculous events that would show, by altering the course of nature, that it is He who creates nature. Not only this, but He would take a nation out of the midst of another nation and make them His people. This would show that not only is He aware of what transpires in this world, but He cares and interacts with mankind. Additionally, prior to these miracles, God would communicate His intentions to a human being. This would demonstrate that God speaks to man. By doing so, the authenticity of prophecy would be established, for it is on prophecy - the fact that God communicates His wishes to flesh and blood - that the entire Torah rests.

This, in essence, was the Exodus from Egypt.

You often hear people who don't believe in God saying, "Well, if God exists, why doesn't He do a couple of quick miracles right now, and I'll believe in Him!" Let's answer this by way of a story:

Once there was a child prodigy who at the age of four could play Rachmaninoff better than the best. Not wanting their daughter to become a circus freak, her parents decided that she would give one concert and one concert only. This concert would show the world the extent of her genius and afterwards she would return to her life as a four-year-old child. In order that this oncein- a-lifetime event not be forgotten, special mementos of the concert would be sold: a tiny white concert piano on a bracelet, a tiara with a piano on it, a special shawl into which a keyboard had been woven. These souvenirs were eagerly acquired by her millions of fans.

The morning after the concert, the media fell over themselves trying to find superlatives to describe the performance.

About a month later, a couple of louts who had missed the show turned up at the child's home and demanded a "command" performance. "Yeah, we know everyone says she was great. We read the newspapers 'n' all, but we don't believe it. If you bring her down from her bedroom now and get her to perform here in your sitting room on this grand piano, then we'll believe she's as good as everyone says she is. If not - we don't believe..."

God doesn't give Command Performances for all and sundry. Who is man to command his Creator? God isn't going to reorchestrate nature once again just to prove to someone that He exists. He isn't going to jump through hoops for the benefit of someone who doesn't believe there was a Concert at all. There are millions of fans out there who still have their tiny white pianos carefully handed down from generation to generation to prove the existence of the Concert - and the Maestro who gave it.

God performed the miracles of Egypt once and once only, because by doing so His presence in the world was so overwhelmingly manifest that it temporarily removed man's freedom of choice to believe in Him or not. And the purpose of Creation was that there should exist a being, man, who has free will to choose whether or not to obey the Creator.

However, in order that we should not forget this once-and-once-only reorchestration of nature, God gave us souvenirs of the Concert - a mezuza to put on our doors, tefillin to bind on our arms, etc. Someone who has these reminders will go through his life as though he has a string tied around his pinkie. He will never forget.

Not only that: God also made it incumbent on every generation to pass over the truth of these great miracles to the next generation in an annual recreation of the Exodus. The night of the Seder is the replay of the great Concert.

It's axiomatic that parents don't lie knowingly to their children about things that are important for their children to know. The existence of the Exodus is a highly significant fact in the life of every Jew. At the Seder, every grandfather passes over to his children and grandchildren what he heard from his parents and grandparents, and they in turn from their parents and grandparents in an unbroken chain back to Egypt, that the Exodus actually happened.

Thus the Exodus proved that God cares about what goes on in this world: He took the Jewish people out of Egypt to have a special relationship with them. And it showed that He knows what's going on this world, because if He cares, He must also, by definition, know.

But how do miracles that show Him overruling the laws of nature also show that He created nature? How do the miracles of Egypt reveal that God created the world out of nothing and not, as the Greeks claimed, that the world has no beginning? Can the mere alteration of nature prove that God created nature? After all, the fact that I can fix a car doesn't prove that I can make one. Maybe the miracles of the Exodus show that God is a only a Divine Mechanic.

The answer is that we have to understand these miraculous changes in nature on a deeper level.

When God created the world, He did so with Ten Statements, as it says at the beginning of the Torah: "In the beginning," "Let there be light...," etc. The Ten Plagues were the negative counterpart to the Ten Statements. The Ten Plagues were not just alterations of nature; they were nature in reverse. In other words, the first statement, "In the beginning," corresponds to the tenth plague, the death of the firstborn. The second utterance, "Let there be light!" was the inverse of the ninth plague, the plague of darkness.

The Torah describes the plague of darkness thus: "And there was darkness on the land of Egypt, and the darkness removed the light." When the Torah tells us that "the darkness removed the light," it means that darkness is not the absence of light; rather, darkness is a creation just as much as light is a creation. In the normal course of events, God allows light to push away the darkness. In the ninth plague, He chose to reverse nature's polarity - and darkness removed the light.

Now we can understand why the miracles of Egypt showed that God created nature itself. These changes of nature were not diversions of the normal current of nature, but rather their reversal. God showed that He could create a doppelganger world that is the reverse of creation. If God can create the reverse, the negative, then He can also create the positive.

The plagues of Egypt were not just the tinkering of a Divine Mechanic; they were the hallmark of the Maker Himself.

More articles available at Ohr Somayach's website.