Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Beshalach

Divine Multitasking

By Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig

ďAnd Israel saw the great hand that G-d inflicted upon Egypt; and the people feared G-d, and they had faith in G-d and in Moshe his servant.Ē (Shemos/Exodus 14:31) The Midrash expounds that prior to this moment in history when the Sea of Reeds came crashing down upon the Egyptian army the Jews did not truly fear G-d, but from that point forward they did. But the Jews had been eyewitness to ten miraculous and devastating plagues that wiped out the largest empire in the world. If that did not cause them to fear G-d, what was unique about the splitting of the sea that suddenly led them to change their minds?

Bais Halevi (1) explains that the miracle at the sea was completely different from anything they had witnessed until then. Since the Jews had not yet been commanded to fulfill mitzvos (Divine commands) while they were in Egypt, they had not performed these meritorious acts that would deem them worthy of miraculous salvation. Thus, the miracles that took place in Egypt were Divine retribution for the unusual cruelty they inflicted upon the Jews. Indeed, this was why they initially only asked to serve G-d in the desert for three days rather than to be set free. The Egyptian denial of such a small request was all the more rationale to punish them.

At the end of their Egyptian exile, G-d gave the Jews their first few mitzvos and, with them, the opportunity to merit their own salvation. At great personal risk, the Jews took lambs, an Egyptian deity, and offered them as sacrifices to G-d. They also demonstrated an immense trust in G- d, wandering into the desert to serve Him, and staying there with neither any natural form of protection from the elements nor sufficient food and water to last them for an extended period of time. In the merit of these acts the sea split for them. Unlike the plagues of Egypt, the splitting of the sea was an act of kindness and mercy. The water crashing down on the Egyptians was wholly consistent with nature; the miracle was that it stood up for the Jews. Previously they had seen G-d suspend nature to punish the perpetrators of evil. But now they saw, as G-d performed a miracle for them in His infinite love and benevolence, His attribute of justice used the same miraculous event to punish the Egyptians. This national epiphany for the Children of Israel was the source of their newfound fear and awe of G-d. The Oneness of the Divine dictated that they benefit from G-dís acts of Divine justice against the Egyptians while the Egyptians suffer from His mercy for the Jews.

Unlike the finite human, whose acts of kindness are simply that, G-d always maintains all of His attributes: all of His acts are multifaceted and impacting the world in more ways than we can fathom. None of His acts are simple, so even when an event appears to us to be a simple kindness or a warranted punishment - how much more so a tragedy we cannot attempt to explain - we must remember there are other facets and ripples that we not only do not see, but cannot even begin to comprehend.

Have a Good Shabbos!

(1) Rabbi Yosef Ber Soloveitchik, 1820-1892; great grandson of Rabbi Chaim Volozhin, foremost disciple of the Vilna Gaon and founder of Yeshivas Volozhin; living during a period of great turbulence and transition, he possessed the highest level of scholarship, absolute loyalty to tradition and extraordinary sensitivity for the plight of the poor and unfortunate; renowned as Rabbi of Slutzk and, later, Brisk


Text Copyright © 2006 by Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig and Torah.org.

Kol HaKollel is a publication of The Milwaukee Kollel Center for Jewish Studies 5007 West Keefe Avenue Milwaukee, Wisconsin 414-447-7999


 






ARTICLES ON LECH LECHA:

View Complete List

No Business As Usual
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762

A "Sneak Preview" of History
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5761

The Wandering Jew
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5761

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Lech-Lecha #1 or Lech-Lecha #2 Ė Which is the harder test?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771

Environmental Hazard
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5774

Long Distance Call
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5761

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Redefining Pleasure
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5775

The Standers and the Walkers
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5760

Avram Lifted Up His Hand...So That You Not Say
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5773

> Dream the Impossible Dream
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5758

The Lech Lecha Test Rates Higher Than The Ur Kasdim Test
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

Take the Initiative!
Shlomo Katz - 5774

ArtScroll

Why The Land of Israel?
- 5768

Avraham's Legacy to his Descendants
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5771

The Dawn of a New Era
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5759

Lotís and Lots of Opportunities
Rabbi Label Lam - 5774



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information