Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  LifeLine
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Beshalach

by Rabbi Yaakov Menken


"It happened that when Pharoah sent the nation out of Egypt, G-d did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although it was close..."

One of the commentaries, Da'as Zekeinim MiBaalei HaTosfos, explains this passage in a very unusual way. It notes that "although it was close" can be read "_because_ it was close," referring to the Nation of Israel rather than the land of the Philistines. Because Israel enjoys a special closeness to G-d, Israel could not be led out by way of the Philistinian Authority.

During 1991, at this time of year, Scud missiles were descending on Israel. I was there. So I can speak about the open miracles that I believe we witnessed, G-d's hand at work.

During the first two days, I recall that over 20 missiles descended upon Israel. No one died from them (although it was reported that unfortunately, a few elderly people and one child suffocated in their gas masks). The next time the missiles flew, American patriot missiles were launched to greet them.

A teacher of mine told us -- warned us, actually -- that it was foolish to rely upon an American missile for protection. There is a book called the Chovos Halevavos -- Duties of the Heart -- that offers a similar warning (which he quoted): "If a person places his trust in something other than G-d, then G-d hands him over into the hands of that thing that he trusts."

The news reports later claimed that a patriot did hit one of the incoming scuds that night. Unfortunately, it hit the back section, knocking the warhead off course rather than destroying it. It hit a building near Tel Aviv, killing one person -- the only warhead that caused a direct fatality in the entire series of attacks on Israel.

The first two times, there was nothing to trust except G-d. So Israel prayed instead of wishing on a missile... and we did better!

Even after one is convinced that G-d's hand is really at work in the world, it is still a challenge to _trust_ G-d, to recognize that matters are not in our hands. If we see or experience something of this nature, we must learn and grow from that experience rather than slipping back into our routine.

Concerning the Parting of the Sea, my wife reminded me of a statement of our Sages (Mechilta), that "what a maidservant saw by the sea, Yechezkel Ben Buzi [the prophet Ezekiel] did not see in all his days." Yechezkel saw an incredible prophetic vision, referred to as "the Works of the Holy Chariot." Great Rabbis studied this passage, and were never satisfied that they fully understood it... and yet the Medrash tells us that a maidservant saw even more than this!

So later Rabbis have asked: why, then, is the maidservant just a maidservant, while Yechezkel is considered one of our great prophets? Wasn't her prophecy even greater? The answer, they say, is simple -- the maidservant saw what happened, and remained a maidservant. Yechezkel saw less, but he grew from the experience. He learned from what he saw; he allowed his vision to teach him new things about G-d's world and his own spirituality.

We all have our moments of inspiration. We can either let them pass, or grasp them, demand the utmost from them, demand the utmost from ourselves... and grow!

Good Shabbos,


Text Copyright © 2002 Project Genesis, Inc.

The author is the Director of Project Genesis.


 






ARTICLES ON VAYEITZEI AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

Stairway to Heaven
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5760

Straightening Out The Cause And The Effect
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5773

Behold! It Was Leah!
Shlomo Katz - 5760

ArtScroll

The World of Learning
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

Now More Than Ever!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771

Whew! What a Message!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Basic Concepts and Laws
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5761

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

Destined for Each Other?
Shlomo Katz - 5768

Looking for a Chavrusah?

It's a Match!
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5761

Physical or Spiritual - Who's In Control?
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

Those Small Jars
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5758

> Living Lessons
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

History Reenacted
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5767

Getting What You Pay For
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5767

Tower of Strength
Shlomo Katz - 5769



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