The ninth of the Ten Plagues to be visited on Egypt was the plague of Darkness: “No person could see his brother, nor could any person rise from his place, for three days; but for the children of Israel, there was light in all their dwellings" (Exodus 10:23).

The physical plague of darkness had its root in a spiritual darkness, which can be defined as the absence of G‑d’s revealed presence. In discussing the spiritual origin of this plague the Midrash cites two opinions: Rabbi Nechemia taught that the darkness originated in the regions of geheinom (purgatory); Rabbi Yehudah taught that it originated in the celestial spheres.