Home Subscribe Services Support Us
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Beshalach

Victories and Triumphs

Victories and triumphs inevitably are followed by letdowns, frustrations and sometimes even disappointments. The high point of the story of the Exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt is recorded in this week’s parsha with the eternal song of Moshe and Israel at the Reed Sea.

The exultation of Israel at seeing its hated oppressors destroyed at its feet knew no bounds. It is as though its wildest dreams of success and achievement were now fulfilled and realized. However, almost immediatel the people of Israel, faced with the problems of the real world which seemingly never disappear no matter how great the previous euphoria may have been, turn sullen and rebellious.

Food, water, shelter all are lacking. And even when Moshe provides for them the necessary miracles that are required for minimum sustenance in the desert of Sinai, their mood of foreboding and pessimism is not easily dispelled.

And this mood is heightened by the sudden unprovoked attack of Amalek against the people of Israel. Again, Amalek is defeated by Yehoshua and Moshe but the mere fact that such an attack occurred so soon after the events of the Exodus has a disheartening effect upon the people.

The moment of absolute physical triumph is not to be repeated again in the story of Israel in the Sinai desert. But physically speaking, the experience of the desert of Sinai will hardly be a thrilling one for Israel. So it is with all human and national victories. Once the euphoria settles down, the problems and frustrations begin.

In relating the miracle of the sweetening of the waters at Marah, the Torah teaches us that “there did the Lord place before them laws and justice and there did He test them.” There are many interpretations in Midrash, Talmud and rabbinic literature as to what those “laws and justice” actually were.

But it is certainly correct to say that the main “laws and justice” that were taught to Israel at Marah was that the problems of life go on even after miraculous victories and great achievements. Victories bring high if sometimes unrealistic expectations. Measured realistic response and realistic assessments are necessary in order to harvest the fruits of such victories.

The less grandiose our expectations are the less painful our disappointments become. The generation of the descendants of those who left Egypt, who were now accustomed to the grueling challenges of the desert and who had not shared in the euphoria of the destruction of the Egyptian oppressor, were much better equipped to deal with the realities entailed in conquering the Land of Israel and establishing Jewish sovereignty and society there.

Our times have also witnessed great and unforeseen accomplishments here in Israel. But because of that very success, we are often given over to disappointment and frustration at the current unsolved problems that still face us. We would all wish to sing a great song of exultation and triumph over our enemies and problems.

With God’s help we may yet be able to do so. Yet until then we would be wise to attempt to deal with our realities and problems in a moderate, practical and wise fashion.

Shabat shalom.

Rabbi Berel Wein

Crash course in Jewish history

Rabbi Berel Wein- Jewish historian, author and international lecturer offers a complete selection of CDs, audio tapes, video tapes, DVDs, and books on Jewish history at



View Complete List

It's Never Too Late
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5766

That's Chanukah
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

To Fergin or Forget
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5774

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

How Free Is Your Will?
Shlomo Katz - 5762

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

Yosef's Approach to God-Based Events
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5771

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Gifts, Prayer and War
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5760

The Battle With Eisav's Angel Always Keeps Changing
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5764

The Triumph of Quality Over Quantity
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

> Standing Firm
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5761

Battle and Survival
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5760

Remaining Whole
Shlomo Katz - 5761


Animal House
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5760

In G-d We Trust – But How Much?
Shlomo Katz - 5772

Reuven's Lesson
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5766

On A Wing and A Prayer
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770

Project Genesis Home

Torah Portion

Jewish Law



Learn the Basics




Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base


About Us

Contact Us

Free Book on Geulah! Home Copyright Information