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 VAYEITZEI AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

Nice Guys Finish Second -- Second in Command to Pharoah
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5766

The Master Plan
Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig - 5763

Building a Jewish Home
Shlomo Katz - 5761

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Stairway to Heaven
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5760

Into the Hands of the Few
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5763

Light From Darkness, Take Two
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

> Yehuda, Yosef and Chanukah
Shlomo Katz - 5763

Some on Chariots, and Some on Horses
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

Chanukah, Chutzpah, and Coming Close to G-d
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

If Hashem Said to Go, You Go!
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758

The Lost Jewel
Shlomo Katz - 5765

A Glaring Omission
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

ArtScroll

Suffering From Success
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5766

A Lesson In Exile & Redemption
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5762

G-d Willing!
Shlomo Katz - 5762

The Truth of Deceit
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5761



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