Parshas Beshalach from Rabbi Gedalia Segal based on Rav Usher Freund

Everything is from heaven

When someone does anything, goes anywhere, or thinks anything and he thinks that he is the one doing it from his own strength that he is doing it and he doesn’t exercise that with his own strength he cannot do anything, even Torah and mitzvahs, to talk or to do, a person cannot move any limbs or his tongue unless they empower him from the One above with that ability.  If we think, in the parsha, Pharoah is the one that sent Bnei Yisrael from Egypt.  Pharoah from his own will sent Bnei Yisrael from being slaves in his land?  It was really against his will that they went out to a state of freedom, after there were ten plagues, and the country nearly destroyed.  But Pharoah thinks he freed them from their servitude. 

In the medrash there is a mashul that there was a donkey and someone was riding the donkey in the middle of a marketplace and the donkey saw that there was a baby next to its feet and it was ready to trample the baby and all of a sudden it moved to the side and the baby was safe.  Everyone was praising the donkey for not trampling the baby.  So the person riding the donkey said if I had not pulled the reigns to the other side, the baby would have been trampled.  So too Pharoah, he got all these plagues so Bnei Yisrael could leave the land and now he thinks he is the one that redeemed them.  The same thing happened with avimelech when he took Sara Imeinu and he attributed righteousness to himself and his heart, but the angel of the Creator said I am the one who withheld you from sinning I did not give you the ability.  He wanted to but the angel did not let.

When a person withholds from sin, he should not think that he withheld it.  From heaven they orchestrated something to withhold him from it. He should not be a fool and say it was his own strength that withheld him from sinning.  [editorial comment:  Chazal says if Hashem does not help us a person cannot withstand the yetzer hara.  In all my prayers that I pray, the first thing I say before I step out of Shemona esrai is the prayer in maariv motzei Shabbos that Hashem should help withhold me and my falimly and klal Yisrael that we should be free of sin and transgression and cleave to awe of Hashem. This is something we have to beg for because it is impossible to withstand without Hashem’s hand.]

We see in the parsha it says Hashem didn’t lead Bnei Yisrael in the land of Plishtin because it was close and He was afraid that if the Bnei Yisrael saw a war they would want to go to mitzrayim to slavery and servitude, that is how people are. We cannot trust ourselves when it comes to the evil inclination.  We can have emunah but a challenge can mess us up. Even all these miracles there was still a necessity for Hashem to orchestrate an event that they should be further away from MItzrayim, that they should not say afterwards that they themselves did it. It was orchestrated from Heaven and it is impossible to be successful and overcome the evil inclination without Hashem’s mercy and compassion.

Faith when it comes to Divine Providence

The Yidden were thanking Hashem for the salvation at this time of suffering and the gratitude came from the faith they had that Hashem did it and that they themselves were not the ones that could actually redeem themselves, they saw it was Hashem.  There were philosophers that did not believe in divine providence.  They think Hashem has nothing to do with running the world. The mackos showed that Hashem is in all the corners and that there is a divine providence on everything in the world.  Why did they not start with who is like You Hashem?  Miriam started singing and she said Hashem threw the horse and rider in the sea. The passuk is really talking about faith in divine providence.  Hashem who is higher than anything that is in this world has the ability to take the horse and rider and throw it into the sea. It was not the waves or the strength of Bnei Yisrael. It was the hand of Hashem that took the enemies of Israel and put them in the sea , the horse and the riders.  It is simple emunah that they came to actually believe that Hashem was throwing each horse and rider into the water .  we say this every day in our prayers to strengthen hashgacha pratis that everything is in the hands of Hashem. 

When our leaders say that our parnassa is like the splitting of the sea, or sometimes they say it is hard to find a spouse, just like the splitting of the sea. There is sometimes a lot of disappointments until a person finds his soul mate. This is what the chochomim were saying, it is not the emunah in a person’s heart and nothing is done by him, that everything in all the details is orchestrated from above, it would make all challenges a person has to go through much easier for that person to withstand emotionally.

It says the splitting of the sea  salvation came after they believed, that is when the salvation came.  If a person believes in Hashem  [editorial comment: salvation also comes when he believes the salvation comes from Hashem because then he tries to get closer to Hashem and to daven to Hashem so that he understands all his other efforts are nothing but Hashem.  Then he applies the right effort that the salvation actually materializes.]

Without any rest or sleep

When a person wonks on Torah and mitzvahs and emunah there is no resting or sleeping.  A person can work years and years and he can climb the ladder in becoming closer to Hashem, it is not an easy thing. It is step by step and sometimes it could be that to fall could happen.  That is the nature of going up, it is a slow process and going down could be a steep quick fall. Sometimes we walk in the cold snow and we get tired almost frozen and they know that if they fall asleep they won’t stay alive so they try to gather all the strength they have to overcome the sleep because they know their lives depend on it.

So too with avodas Hashem. It has many pitfalls, and it is like a slumber, a danger for the neshama. A person has to avoid the tendency to slumber in laziness, but sometimes he experiences a madrega in avodas Hashem and then he says now I can rest a little. But he always has to worry about the yetzer hara that he should not experience any slack, that he could again fall.  Here in this parsha, we see this happening. When Bnei Yisrael went out of Mitzrayim, they saw a lot of miracles and the people never saw such miracles and they had a high madrega and the nation believed.  They knew that they were free and that they were going to get the Torah and then Israel and they knew that Hashem is true and that Moshe was his faithful servant.  And then came a challenge – Pharoah running after them with an army and they were terrified and wanted to go back to Mitzrayim.what happened to all the miracles and emunah? How could it come into their minds that Moshe brought them there to die?  Emunah is something a person has to work on without rest or stops or slumber because even a slight weakness is a great danger and it could bring a slumber that a person could not awaken from, chas v’shalom. 

Emuna is something we work on throughout our whole lives.

They believed in Hashem

When Moshe raised his stick the staff with Hashem’s Name engraved on it, and when it was used by the splitting of the sea, it wasn’t just the sea that split but all the waters in the world.  They split as well.  You could think that the whole world would be totally shook up.  Everyone saw Hashem is the warrior and that the spirit of Hashem was on all the world.  We see with all the revelation He revealed in the world, did it bring a change to the nations of the world?  Did they convert and join klal Yisrael, even just a few when they saw Hashem with Bnei Yisrael taking them to Har Sinai to get the Torah? All the nations were witness to this and no one threw away their idols. They stayed with their avoda zara as they did before.

One person did have a result on him and he came and that was Yisro.  He threw away the avoda zara that he had.  Instead of us wondering what about the nations of the world, let’s see what happened amidst the Jewish nation.  One person carried the idol Micha threw the waters. Even after all the miracles, is that a way to cleave to Hashem and accept the yoke of heaven.  They believed in Hashem and had emunah and believed in Moshe. Emunah is a simple believe.  That can influence a person to have respect for Hashem and fear Him.  It is a belief, it is not enough to know there is a Creator.  To have the simple belief that there is a creator.

The song the women sang

Miriam  said let’s sing to Hashem so that Hashem threw the horse and riders into the sea. There are three questions about the song the women sang. What question did Miriam answer ?  she spoke to the women but the language is in the male grammar. Thirdly why did she pick the phrase horse with rider into the sea.

The women that went out of mitzrayim with the men also were in servitude. They were different from the men.  The exodus from mitzrayim was not an exodus in itself. The real purpose was to get the Torah. It seemed that the exodus was a hallway brimging them to the palace Har Sinai and Yisrael would be a nation of Torah and mitzvahs and that would be the foundation for their existence.

When Miriam told the women to go out with drums and thank Hashem for the miracles, the ladies asked her why, are we going for the purpose of getting the Torah, to learn the Torah , to do the main mitzvahs like tefillin lulav and succa?  Our main function is to keep the house and bring up the children. The responsibility of the Torah is not on us so why should we go out singing and dancing to celebrate if it is just a hallway to the palace of getting the Torah.  Miriam answered wisely and said go out and see – not only did the riders get thrown into the waters, but the horses as well.  The horses helped the riders pursue Bnei Yisael.  When Hashem punishes He punishes the ones that helped the ones that did the sin as well. So when it comes to good deeds, the good deeds are greater than the wrongdoings.  The reward for a good deed is more for the helpers that help people do good than the punishment for those that do evil.  You help your husbands learn and keep the Torah so that is why lachem, in the male grammar, that your reward is more just like the reward of your husband.

It says in chazal that in the merit of the women that don’t stop and help their huisbands learn Torah is very great. It is very appropriate to go out with dancing and with the drums because that is the main purpose of the exodus that you are equal to your husbands by helping them and not stopping them from learning the Torah.

To do the right thing in the eyes of Hashem

When a doctor comes to a sick person and he gives him a prescription, there is a danger that there is a poison that can hurt the person. The doctor knows how to prescribe it and how long it should be used and not to take more or less and he prescribes exactly what the sick person needs.  If the sick person does not follow the order of the doctor he is endangering his life.  That is what it says In the Torah, the Torah is a medication that the Healer gave to klal Yisrael. It is a refuah for the soul, the body.  If a person has a pain in the head, he should learn Torah. It purifies a person and their character attributes. It helps us overcome the evil inclination and gives us happiness.  It gives us a sense of calm in this world and the ability to acquire eternity in the world to come.  It is with fear of Hashem when we learn .  We learn not because we are commanded but out of love.  For people who learn it in the wrong way, they often become great sinners and uproot it. They learned it like an intellectual pursuit not because they are commanded.  It was not a pursuit of life, it was a pursuit of death and instead of ehaling their souls, the poison in the mediation destroys the foundation.  This is all hinted to us in the parsha that  you should do the right thing in Hashem’s eyes, not in your eyes.  Learn because Hashem told us to learn it, not because the wisdom in the Torah is something to pursue like an intellectual pursuiot. And not because you want to learn to do the mitzvahs. How many times do we see people who lwant to “fix” the Torah and change it because it is not “with the times”. This is like asick person telling the doctor how to take the medication.  The doctor will say take what you want?  The person would need the name of the doctor on the prescription.  This is like the people who go to the leaders of their time , they want to fix the Torah, they want freedom with the signature of the Torah but that does not work.

Midda of Bitachon

We learn the attribute of trust Hashem gave to bnei Yisrael when they became a nation that manna fell every day. They did not worry about tomorrow. They raised their hand every day and just like today they will get tomorrow. They collected what they wanted day by day.  For a person he has the merit to speak to Hashdme every day and ask for sustenance.  A wealthy person does not have this merit.  He has it and he does not feel the necessity to ask every day.  Collecting manna every day strengthened bitachon. Everyone will get what they need in a similar measure.  The tzaddikim get the manna close to their house. Those who do not have trust in Hashem go farther and less trust even further.

At the end, a person that brought more than he needed, he brought what others brought. Doing more effort for a bigger portion did not help. Hashem told Moshe to put away the manna.  The people asked, how will we get parnassa when we learn Torah?  Moshe told them, look at the manna.  Hashem provides whatever we need. That is the lesson of the manna

There are two opinions on this.  Was the manna put into a glass or was it put into a different material.  Those are the two ways we have. There are some people who see with their eyes clearly with their trust in Hashem that it is all given to them and that is like glass, you can see through it.  But other people can see it but not as clearly and they still believe in Hashem but it is not a see through material like glass.  It is solid, not transparent.  Some people don’t see it so clearly but they still believe Hashem provides for them.

The manna is put away and hidden from us right now but the lesson of trust is something revealed to us forever.  We know that Hashem could give and give to all that look and hope to Him.

Awakening in the Torah brings Amalek

Amalek fought with Yisrael when they came from Rifidim. Their hands came weak and Amalek came to fight with them.  It was hinted to Yitzchok aveinu and the voice of the Torah is Yaakov and Esav can’t touch thm. But when they weaken in Torah then Amalek gets power and comes to fight.

Was there amalek there, before matan Torah?  The reason was that they did not demand to get the Torah. Instead they demanded water. They did not have a thirst for the Torah and for that they were punished.

Someone came to the kedusha Harim that he forgets what he learns and he wanted a bracha that he should remember. So the Kedusha Harim asks do you forget to eat and drink?  If the learning of the Torah is that you feel it gives you life like food and water, how can you forget it.

That was the complaint of klal Yisrael that if they only had demanded the Torah Amalek would not have come.  So moshe called to Yehoshua to go fight with Amalek.  Yehoshua could fight Amalek because he was always studying Torah. Only he could overcome the enemy and win it over.

Remember what Amalek did. It was a weakening in the Torah that brought Amalek on us. We have to ge stronger in Torah because that is the merit to exist.

After the manna came to klal Yisrael they went back to the desert and to Rifidim and they were thirsty and they screamed to Moshe that they were dying of thirst.  What could klal Yisrael do, they were in the dsert and worked hard for a dwelling place for wells of water. How should they act?  The Ohr HaChaim says that Hashem wanted to show them they were safe.  We should turn our eyes to our father in Heaven, and then salvation comes. Why didn’t they daven to Hashem right away, that was their mistake they thought Hashem was in their midst so there would not be any necessity to pray, He would give them.  When what they desired was not given to them, they thought Hashem was not with them and they started screaming to Moshe.  The people were testing to see if Hashem is in their midst. But He wants the humility and the prayer. We are not reliant on nature, we need Hashem every minute.  We don’t rely on wellsprings that are natural.  When Hashem answers their prayers He sends Moshe to speak to the rock not in a natural way.  He wanted to show them to turn to Him always, their eyes to their Father in heaven and to pray to Him.

So how do we come to this feeling that we can only come to this feeling through learning the Torah, it purifies our thoughts to understand Hashem is there in everything that happens in our lives and if we listen to his statutes, meaning to learn Torah, then He gives the rain in the time and we will have water and sustenance.  Because when we are learning Torah we are connected to HIm,. Then we connect in prayer He sends the salvation.

Bnei Yisrael in Rifidim weakened in Torah and that is how they came to this challenge.

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