101. יָשְׁבוּ רַבִּי חִיָּיא וְרַבִּי יוֹסֵי. אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹסֵי, בְּכַמָּה פְעָמִים שָׁאַלְתִּי, זֶה שֶׁכָּתוּב וַיְהִי בַּחֲצִי הַלַּיְלָה וַה’ הִכָּה כָּל בְּכוֹר בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם, לָמָּה זֶה לֹא הָיָה בַּיּוֹם, שֶׁיִּתְגַּלֶּה לַכֹּל פִּרְסוּם הַנֵּס? וְלָמָּה מֵתוּ כָּל אוֹתָם חַלָּשִׁים שֶׁאַחַר הָרֵחַיִם וְאוֹתָם טְלָאִים שֶׁל בְּנֵי הַצֹּאן, וְלֹא מֵתוּ מְלָכִים וְשָׂרִים וַאֲנָשִׁים עוֹרְכֵי קְרָבוֹת כְּמוֹ שֶׁהָיָה בְּסַנְחֵרִיב, שֶׁכָּתוּב (מלכים-ב יט) וַיֵּצֵא מַלְאַךְ ה’ וַיַּךְ בְּמַחֲנֵה אַשּׁוּר וְגוֹ’? וְשָׁנִינוּ, כֻּלָּם מְלָכִים בְּנֵי מְלָכִים, שָׂרִים וּקְצִינִים. שָׁם נִרְאֲתָה הַגְּבוּרָה שֶׁל שָׁלִיחַ אֶחָד שֶׁלּוֹ, יוֹתֵר מִזֶּה שֶׁהָיָה רָאוּי לִהְיוֹת שֶׁלּוֹ יוֹתֵר.
All the Tzadikim gather into the Garden when the Holy One Blessed be He comes to it. The Garden that is called ‘צרור החיים’ ‘the Bundle of Life’ and it is connected to Eden that is Chokmah. From this source come out springs of Light that spread all over the Garden to give pleasures to the Tzadikim. At that time the Holy One Blessed be He reveals himself to them.
“וַיְהִי בַּחֲצִי הַלַּיְלָה וַיהוָה הִכָּה כָל בְּכוֹר בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם מִבְּכֹר פַּרְעֹה הַיֹּשֵׁב עַל כִּסְאוֹ עַד בְּכוֹר הַשְּׁבִי אֲשֶׁר בְּבֵית הַבּוֹר וְכֹל בְּכוֹר בְּהֵמָה.”
“At midnight YHVH struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of livestock.”
Rabbi Yossi asks why the miracle happened at night and not during the day when everyone can see it. And why the Torah mentions only the killing of the firstborn of the weak and animals, “and lambs in the sheep die”, and not kings and ministers and people of war, as it was when Sanherib, came to attack Jerusalem. At that time, God sent an angel to kill the entire army of Sanherib that had a hundred and eighty-five thousand soldiers. The killing of the firstborn was a greater miracle because God did it with his own hands and not by an angel. It was a greater miracle and deserved to be shown as bigger.
More in the following studies of Zohar Bo.
The original story about the miracle of King Chizkiyahu and Sancheriv in Isaiah Chapters 36,37.
King Chizkiyahu was the most righteous king of Judea, Israel. He made everyone study the Torah and even small children followed the laws of purity and holiness.
Sanherib the king of Assyria sent a huge army to conquer Jerusalem but King Chizkiyahu refused to surrender to him. Jerusalem was besieged and some opponents of the King wanted to surrender and avoid dying of hunger and get slaughtered by the Assyrians.
King Chizkiyahu didn’t give up. He prayed to God and went to sleep. On that night, that was the same night of Passover, and the killing of the firstborn in Egypt, the angel of God took the souls of the entire Assyrian army without hurting their body so everyone can see in the morning that it was done by God and not by military force.
Later King Sanherib was assassinated by his two sons, the firstborn Sharetzer and Ashurhaddon. Later their children, the grandsons of Sanherib converted and became great sages (תנאים) Shmaya and Avtalyon. The first letter of their name is the same as their original name. They were the teachers of Hillel and Shamai, the famous two that created great schools of Torah.
It’s an amazing story about the great certainty that King Chizkiyahu had in God. He was righteous with great merits, like removing all idol worship and sending messengers throughout the land to teach people Torah.
We can find in this story several aspects parallel the miracle of the Exodus from Egypt. Mainly when the Israelites saw that they are trapped between the sea and the Egyptians, they cried to God and Moses told them (Exodus 14:14) “YHVH will fight for you and you will be in peace”. A similar thing happened with King Chizkiyahu.
Another important lesson is about a spiritual connection in the middle of the night and after. It is very special because of the Light that appears at that time. When God is with the Tzadikim in the Garden of Eden, we can make a connection to them with studies. If we are awake or wake up at midnight (Hebrew clock) or shortly after we make Torah and Zohar studies, even if it’s for a few minutes. If there is a hilulah of a Tzadik or not (Check our Tzadikim site and Tzadikim app), light a candle and make the study for the honor of the Tzadik. It will make an immediate connection to the Tzadik in the Garden of Eden and benefit us in this world.