“Shevim Nefesh” (Perek Alef Pasuk Hey). At the beginning of Parshas
Shemos, Paraoh gathers his nation and tells them they must begin to prepare
themselves to deal with Klal Yisrael. He tells them that Yisrael has grown
larger and that they must be ready, “Pen Yirbeh," lest they multiply. Rashi
Hakadosh tells us that Hakadosh Baruch Hu answered Paraoh, “Ken Yirbeh,"
they will multiply.
There is another way of understanding the use of these words. Paraoh said
“Pen Yirbeh." The gematria of the name Yitzchak - Yud, Tzaddik, Ches,
Kof -- is 208 or 8 times 26, the gematria of the name of Hashem - Yud, Kay,
Vov, Kay. The name Yaakov - Yud, Ayin, Kof, Bais -- is 182 or 7 times 26.
The gematria of the name Yosef - Yud, Samach, Vov, Pay -- is 156 or 6 times
26. When Paraoh said “Pen," whose gematria is 130, he was talking about a
leader whose name would be 5 times 26. Hashem answered him, not “Pen” but
“Ken," whose gematria is 70. At the beginning of the Parsha the Pasuk
reminds us that “Shevim Nefesh," 70 soul came down to Egypt. Why does it
say “Nefesh” in the singular and “Nefashot” in the plural? Going down to
Egypt, they may have been 70 separate people, but it was as if they had one
soul. It was this Achdus that would make them worthy of being redeemed.
Paraoh searched for one specific person, a leader who would be worthy.
Hashem answered him that it was not their leader that would make them
worthy, but rather their Achdus, which would lead them out of Galus.