Bar Mitzvah Favors

Today is:  

kasher,kosher,kashrut,kosher supervision,kosher directo






Amazing New Kosher
Cookbook. BUY



The Torah's Weekly Portions
Exodus/Shmot - Beshalach 102

Posted March, 2001
Back to Torah Portions Archive

Jewish Celebration Vendor directory

Parashat Beshalach in Sefer Shmot (the Book of Exodus) can be found at Perek Yud-Gimel, pasuk yud-zayin (Chapter 13, verse 17) continuing through all of Perek Yud-Zayin (Chapter 17).  This Parashah focuses on the B'nei Yisrael's (the Children of Yisrael [Israel]) leaving Mitzrayim (Egypt) and the adventures that followed including the parting of the Sea of Reeds, the battle with Amalek, the first celebrated Shabbat and some of the laws around that, and the miracle of the ma'an (manna) in the desert. 

In this Parashah, we also see the first occasion of many, in which B'nei Yisrael shows a complete lack of faith in Hashem and complains of circumstances figuring that God has done something with no plan in mind leaving the people at the mercy of the elements or their enemies.  There is a lesson contained in this.  As well, there are some strong indications of how not to behave.  In reading this Parashah, I sometimes wonder what it was the God saw in those people.  If we are just looking at that generation, this would be a very good question indeed.  To understand Klal Yisrael (the Nation of Israel), however, we must look at all of history and what is still to come.  Certainly, this is the way Hashem views His history.  If He didn't, we would have to ask what He saw in those people. 

We pick up with Perek Yud-Daled (Chapter 14), pasuk yud (verse 10).  At this point, the people have been traveling away from Paro (Pharaoh) and Mitzrayim minding their own business when Paro decides to seek revenge for all those curses that led to his kicking them out of Mitzrayim. 

10. Paro approached; B'nei Yisrael raised their eyes and behold! -- Mitzrayim was journeying after them, and they were very frightened; B'nei Yisrael cried out to Hashem:

11. They said to Moshe, "Were there no graves in Mitzrayim that you took us to die in the Wilderness? What is this that you have done to us to take us out of Mitzrayim?:

12. Is this not the statement that we made to you in Mitzrayim, saying, 'Let us be and we will serve Mitzrayim'? -- for it is better that we should serve Mitzrayim than that we should die in the Wilderness!":

13. Moshe said to the people, "Do not fear! Stand fast and see the salvation of Hashem that He will perform for you today; for as you have seen Mitzrayim today, you shall not see them ever again: 

Before getting into the commentaries which present a completely different idea, I would like to point out something which many of you might find a little humorous.  When we communicate, it is not uncommon to have exceedingly long explanations or questions when a parsimonious two or three words would do nicely. For example, the words that are said in perek yud-aleph (verse 11) could be said with, "We left so that we could be killed?"  But, no…  Since it is Jewish communication, it is, " Were there no graves in Mitzrayim that you took us to die in the Wilderness? What is this that you have done to us to take us out of Mitzrayim?"  Thus, if you wonder where Jewish trends in speech come from, it all seems to have started a long time ago. 

Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch comments to yud-aleph as follows: 

They (B'nei Yisrael) were doubtful with regard to Moshe's mission.  In their position, and from their standpoint, a very understandable doubt.  How could they, how dared they, just quietly assume that God would help them in such an extraordinarily miraculous manner, for which there was absolutely no precedent, and which was so completely against all natural expectation.  These continuous doubts form an important proof for the truth of Moshe's mission, as Rav Yehudah Halevi remarks in the Kusri.  Moshe had to deal with a clear-minded people whose minds were not befogged by fantastic ideas, and who were not easily taken in, or convinced, by the first man who comes along.  If then, ultimately, this very people have cheerfully given themselves up for centuries to fight the world, and to die for "the teachings of this Moshe," it is a proof that the sending of this Moshe must have won them over to an unassailable conviction by the force of actual deed and occurrences. 

To his comments concerning the "Jewish speech" above, Rav Hisrch says: 

This sharp irony even in moments of deepest anxiety and despair is characteristic of the witty vein which is inherent in the Jewish race from their earliest beginnings. 

As to Moshe's response in perek yud-gimel (13): 

The one and only activity that such a critical moment demands of us is an internal one - to bring oneself to a state of clam and to the mood of quietly standing and waiting.  This designates the highest degree of the reality of "being" which God gives Man - salvation from an existence which is threatened.  The Hebrew designates more, an abundance of goods, hence also the well-to-do, and accordingly refers more to the sphere, the periphery of a being than to the being itself.  The opposite idea would be the conception of narrowness, limitation.  Further, the language indicates a granting of an extended sphere, granting of power, freeing of domain - victory in battle, where the enemy who threatens our domain is beaten back. 

What can be learned from these few verses?  Quite a number of things.  First, that our relationship with God is quite unique compared to the other religions of this world.  The Jewish people are permitted, perhaps expected, to have a more intimate relationship with Hashem than any other people.  After all, it is not at all unusual to us to openly ask what it is that God is up to or to openly disagree with His actions.  Second, we see in these psukim a clear definition of what the word "salvation" means in the Jewish paradigm.  It does not have anything to do with an afterlife.  Rather, it is in the here and now.  It is survival from Paro's army, survival from multiple peoples and armies during the time in the desert and upon taking the land, survival from the Babylonians at the end of the First Temple, survival from the Greeks as is now commemorated with Chanukah, survival from Haman as is now commemorated with Purim, survival from the Romans, survival from the Diaspora, survival from the Inquisition of the Church and other Christian persecution, survival in the Pale, survival in the Shoah, survival in the many wars in today's Israel.  All of these things have taken terrible tolls but the Jewish people have survived through God's salvation. 

Finally, there is the concept of, after all the discussion and angst, accepting God's Hand in all things and knowing that if we will but keep faith with Him, He will keep faith with us.



Translations in Torah Portions of the week are partially taken from the ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash and from Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch Chumash

Back to Torah Portions Archive
click here or Torah for Tots


 · Wedding Gifts
  · Bar Mitzvah Gifts
Baby Gifts
  · Jewish Books at Great Prices

Summer Love!




Check the Jewish Celebration Bookstore

Mazor Guides: Wealth of Information and Resources
- Mazor Guide - The Ultimate Guide to Living Jewish -
- Guide to Jewish Holidays -
- Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah Guide -
- Guide to a Jewish Wedding -
- Guide to Jewish Celebrations -
- Guide to Kosher Living
- Infertility and Judaism: A Guide
- The Get (Gett) - the Jewish Divorce: A Guide
- Zei Gezunt: Jewish Perspective on Health -
- Jewish Genetic Diseases -
- Death and Mourning in Judaism

Advertise on Mazornet's Jewish Celebrations Directory And Reach Your Target!!

Copyright 1998-2013 MazorNet, Inc.

Other Mazornet, Inc. Websites | | | |


myspace analytics