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Parashat Beshalach

Parashat Beshalach January 18, 2008

When reaching the pinnacle of the Exodus, the splitting of the Red Sea, we can’t help but ask how did Bnei Yisrael continue to complain after witnessing 10 marvelous miracles brought about through the plagues performed just for them. If all of Egypt “knew Hashem” already, what was missing here in the realm of faith for Am Yisrael?

Moshe Rabbeinu turns to his people and says:” Al Tirau!” – Do not fear! The Machilta medrash discusses how it looked on the shores of the Red Sea when Egypt raced on chariots after Bnei Yisrael. The origin of Israeli politics began then when the young Jewish nation decided to break into 4 groups, or political parties. 1) The first group said- ” Leepol layam!”- Let’s jump into the sea (and commit suicide) 2) the second group said- ” Lashuv LeMitzrayim!” – Let’s go back to Egypt where at least we had what to eat and where to be buried. 3) The third group said – ” La-asot milchama negdam!” Let’s fight them 4) the fourth group simply said –”Ve’anachnu nitzak!” we will scream (what else can we do!?!) They didn’t see “current events” with a spiritual eye yet. Even after all that was done for them, they lived in a realm of the husk of imagination. Fear came out of it. Yes, they had climbed many steps on the ladder to faith, but they were only on the level of “what you see is what you get.” Only after the Egyptians were annihilated on the sea did the culture of “achizat einayim” (creating a false impression) – pass over.

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov says that a person cannot really know and believe that Hashem wants only goodness for him until he reaches the level of clarity in faith (behirut be’emunah). This is like saying, “Seeing is believing”. We have been taught that what a person sees is open to interpretation. Rav Nachman says no- Even if there are direct miracles, if there is no clarity in faith- you won’t see them. This has nothing to do with knowing the Torah and keeping all of its laws. This is only about holding the heavenly yoke of heaven in your heart. When a person roots faith in his emotions and constantly refreshes the feeling of faith, the energy that comes out of this enables him to see miracles. Then when Hashem tests us, we are able to elevate ourselves above the nisayon(test) by serving Him, like a successful worker who never gets used to his job, but loves his work passionately. He accepts every challenge that Hashem brings his way with a clear understanding that everything that Hashem does is for the best!

Dear Readers, Here in Israel today nothing really makes sense. Sderot and the Western Negev are barely on the agenda of our government. Instead, they prefer to place our precious home land on the negotiating table as if it was their own personal possession. The lessons of throwing thousands of Jews out of their homes in Gaza were not at all learnt. The world remained silent and encouraged this immoral act. Instead of admitting to their terrible folly which brought about the creation of another terror state they prefer to stubbornly continue in a similar path of destruction.

As we again stand on the shores of the sea divided in our ideas about what to do let Hashem open our eyes and hearts and help us to see His salvation.

Shabbat Shalom,

Leah Goldsmith Itamar

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