The 10th Plague in Egypt: Kabbalah and Modern Science

By Dr. Michael Schulman, Director of Ask Noah International

In the Tenth Plague that G-d brought upon the Egyptians, all the first-born Egyptian males died at midnight.

The Book of Zohar teaches that G-d killed the first-born Egyptians not only “at” the middle of the night. It was also done *with* the middle of the night. The Hebrew text of the verse Exodus 12:29 allows for both meanings.

In Exodus 11:4, Moses warned Pharaoh that G-d would kill the firstborn “ka‘hatzot ha’layla” (“at midnight”).  Rashi explains there:

AT MIDNIGHT – when the night is divided … This is its simple meaning, which fits in with its context. But our Rabbis have interpreted it [more grammatically precisely] as “ka (at approximately) hatzot ha’layla (midnight).” They state that Moses said “at approximately midnight.” This means “close to it” – either before it or after it – and he did not say “ba (at exactly)  hatzot ha’layla (midnight).” Otherwise, Pharaoh’s astrologers would err [in their calculation of the time] and say, “Moses is a liar.” But the Holy One, Blessed is He, Who knows His times and moments [precisely] said, “ba’hatzot ha’layla” [for in Exodus 12:29 it states, “It was ba’hatzot ha’layla (at exactly midnight) …”].

The non-mystical dimension of Torah cited by Rashi teaches that humans can make a mistake in determining a point in time. But “G-d knows His times and moments” – exactly.

The Zohar notes that grammatically, “ba’hatzot ha’layla” also means “with the midnight”. It teaches that G-d killed the firstborn by revealing to them the exact point in time of the middle of the night, and their souls flew out from their bodies because they were overcome by the power of that revelation.

This sounds very mystical, but amazingly, it coincides with an understanding of quantum physics that was discovered in 20’03. This groundbreaking scientific work in the understanding of time concluded that according to quantum mechanics, there is no such thing in the physical creation as a “point in time”. There are only time intervals, and not exact points. So the Zohar seems to be explaining that G-d showed the first-born Egyptians something that is beyond the physical creation – an exact point in time – while the firstborn themselves were still existing in the physical creation. This forced their spiritual souls to separate from their physical bodies, from the intensity of the G-dly revelation.

The link below presents an overview of the scientific discovery, which concludes, “in all cases a time value represents an interval on time, rather than an instant“: