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Update 2/2/23 9:36pm Israel Time

The Spring Hill Times is a publication that has been a life changer for me. Reading it together with Rabbi Biderman's Torah Wellsprings is a great way to get your weekly dose of Emunah, Bitachon, and Gratitude and Love of Hashem. The Spring Hill Times has total monthly expenses of $7,500. What I decided to do is to not charge money for myself but instead to help this wonderful organization that does its work solely with volunteers. They don't sell ads. Volunteers print and distribute the weekly newspaper to many parts of the world. I am asking that you open up your hearts and your wallets/purses and donate to this wonderful publication who does so much for Klal Yisrael. You will have the merit of sharing Torah all over the world and help them expand and reach new cities and new countries. Make your donation here.

https://pay.banquest.com/shaareibitachon

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After you make your donation, send me an email with proof of donation, and I will email you the password to access the site. Thank you!

 

Akiva,

Tzfat

torahlectures@gmail.com

Beshalach 5783

Rabbi Biderman

Beshalach

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Parashat BeShalach- A New Understanding of the Splitting of the Sea

Parashat Beshalach describes what is likely the most famous miracle told in the Torah – the miracle of Keri’at Yam Suf, the splitting of the Sea of Reeds. Pharaoh’s army had trapped Beneh Yisrael against the sea, and G-d miraculously split the sea to allow Beneh Yisrael to cross. The Egyptians continued chasing Beneh Yisrael into the sea, whereupon G-d sent the waters on them, drowning the entire army.

 

The Ha’ketab Ve’ha’kabbala (Rav Yaakob Mecklenberg, 1785-1865) offers a unique insight into how the miracle of Keri’at Yam Suf unfolded, understanding this event much differently than the way it is commonly understood.

 

He begins by noting that the Torah speaks of Beneh Yisrael going into the sea with the words, "Va’aybo’u Beneh Yisrael Be’toch Ha’yam" – "Beneh Yisrael came into the middle of the sea" (14:22). Ha’ketab Ve’ha’kabbala observes that generally, the act of going into the sea is referred to not with the verb "B.A." – "come," but rather with the verb "Y.R.D." – "descend." For example, a verse in Tehillim (107:23) speaks of "Yoredeh Ha’yam Ba’oniyot" – "Those who go down into the sea in boats." Why does the Torah use the verb "Va’yabo’u" – "came" – in reference to Beneh Yisrael’s going into the sea after the waters split?

 

To answer this question, Ha’ketab Ve’ha’kabbala explains that the splitting of the waters was not the primary miracle that occurred at this event. Rather, G-d lifted the ocean floor, such that it was flush with the seashore. The water, which would normally be displaced and thrown onto the shores around the ocean, instead split into two "walls" that floated on top of the elevated ocean floor, on either side. Additionally, G-d dried the ocean floor so that it was smooth and paved, allowing Beneh Yisrael to easily travel across to the other side.

 

This explains why the Torah uses the word "Va’yabo’u" to describe Beneh Yisrael’s advancing into the sea. Normally, the verb "Y.R.D." is used, because the ocean is, of course, much lower than the shore, such that going into the sea entails a descent of sorts. But at Keri’at Yam Suf, the ocean floor was lifted, such that Beneh Yisrael did not have to descend. This was, in fact, a crucial part of the miracle. If G-d had merely split the waters, Beneh Yisrael would have needed to walk along a steep depression down into the ocean floor. This would have been exceedingly difficult. And so instead, G-d raised the ocean floor, splitting the water in the process, so Beneh Yisrael had a flat, smooth surface along which the travel.

 

Ha’ketab Ve’ha’kabbala explains on this basis Beneh Yisrael’s description of the miracle in the Shirat Ha’yam – the song of praise which they sang after the miracle: "Kaf’u Tehomot Be’leb Yam" (commonly translated as, "The depths froze in the heart of the sea" – 15:8). Based on several verses throughout Tanach, Ha’ketab Ve’ha’kabbala posits that the word "Kaf’u" means "float." And, he cites the verse in the Book of Mishleh (30:19), "Derech Oniya Be’leb Yam" – that ships sail "in the heart of the sea," showing that the phrase "Be’leb Yam" refers to the surface of the ocean. Hence, the verse "Kaf’u Tehomot Be’leb Yam" means that the ocean waters "floated" on top of the sea’s surface, which was elevated to the height of the shore.

 

The real miracle of Keri’at Yam Suf, then, was not just the splitting of the water – but the elevation of the ocean floor, which created a flat, smooth surface for Beneh Yisrael to travel on so they could easily escape from the Egyptian army. - Rabbi Eli Mansour

 

https://itorah.com/parasha-insight/parasha/beshalach/parashat-beshalah-a-new-understanding-of-the-splitting-of-the-sea/16/1007

Acknowledging Our Vulnerability

Parshat Bo tells the story of Yetziat Mitzrayim, the Exodus from Egypt.

 

 

Throughout the Torah, the importance of this event, and of remembering this event, is emphasized.  And many mitzvot were commanded specifically to ensure that we never forget that we were downtrodden slaves in Egypt until Hashem miraculously brought us to freedom.

 

One reason why the story of Yetziat Mitzrayim is so critically important, and so foundational to the Jewish experience, is because it teaches us about the ability to overcome challenges.  Our ancestors were lowly slaves, subjected to unimaginable misery and persecution, and then emerged as a proud nation, standing at Mount Sinai and hearing Hashem speak to them.  The story of Yetziat Mitzrayim is thus the story of the Jewish People throughout history – the story of resilience in the face of hardship, the story of triumph over adversity, the story of never losing hope or faith no matter how difficult the situation is.

 

And this is the story that we each must write for ourselves, as well.  Yetziat Mitzrayim teaches us that we can overcome any personal challenges that we face by placing our faith in Hashem, that no struggle is too difficult, that we can and must be strong even in hard times.

 

But there is also another reason why the Torah places great emphasis on remembering our ancestors’ experiences in Egypt.

 

The Torah on several occasions commands us to look out for the poor and the downtrodden, and it makes the point that we experienced hardship and suffering in Egypt.  We ourselves endured the pain and degradation of slavery – and so we need to empathize with, and care for, those who are hurting, those who are struggling, those who are alone, and those who are vulnerable and afraid.  We were there, we know what it’s like, and so we have the responsibility to help them.

 

We place a great deal of emphasis on the first message of Yetziat Mitzrayim – on fighting, on struggling to succeed and triumph in the face of adversity, on trusting our ability to overcome any challenge. 

 

Specifically because of this, we aren’t always sufficiently attuned to the plight of those who struggle.

 

We hear and tell ourselves so often that we can overcome anything, and so we might be led to apply this to other people enduring hardship.  We might look at people who are struggling and think, “They can get over it.  They’re strong.  With emunah, anything is possible – so they can handle this and recover.”

 

This attitude overlooks the second message of the story of Egypt – empathizing with people’s pain, and doing what we can to care for them.

 

We have among us many victims, of many different kinds.  There are victims of various forms of abuse.  There are victims of crime.  There are victims of poverty.  There are victims of neglect.  There are victims of bullying.  There are victims of abandonment.  And they need to see that we care, that they’re not invisible, that we want to embrace them and help them.

 

Of course, all Am Yisrael are victims; we have been victimized for millennia.  And we’ve grown stronger through our extraordinary power of resilience and our faith.  But this does not allow us to belittle the pain and the suffering of our brothers and sisters who are in pain.  They don’t need to be told to hear classes or read books about emunah, or to be told that they are strong enough to handle anything.  They need our empathy, our unconditional support, and the assurance that we are with them and ready to help them.

 

For ourselves, we need to reinforce our faith in Hashem and in our strength to persevere.  But for others, we need to show empathy and concern, and extend ourselves as much as we can to alleviate the pain and suffering of our fellow Jew in distress. - Rabbi Joey Haber

https://itorah.com/weekly-inspire/parasha/bo/caring-for-victims/15/357

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