Parshas B'Shalach -Current Events

By BJLife/Moishy Pruzansky

Posted on 01/18/19

Parshas HaShavua Divrei Torah sponsored by
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At the conclusion of last week's Parshah, the Egyptians finally allowed the Jews to leave Egypt. After 10 miraculous plagues, the promise that Hashem made to Avraham Avinu to rescue the Jewish nation with miracles, an outstretched arm and laden with riches had finally been fulfilled. Additionally, the Jewish nation was about to receive the Torah and was headed to Eretz Yisroel. The Exodus looked poised for the perfect ending with the Jewish nation riding into the proverbial sunset. However, in this week's parshah, the Jews are faced with yet another terrifying drama. Hashem hardened the Egyptians' hearts and brought them to not only regret their decision of freeing the Jewish nation, but to also chase the Jews. Why was it for Hashem to orchestrate this final challenge? Wasn't everything that was meant to be accomplished by the exile already accomplished?

 R' Shlomo Kluger, in parshas Va'eira, asks why there was a need for a miraculous redemption from Egypt in the first place? Why couldn't Hashem have brought Pharoah to decide to simply free the Jewish nation like Hashem did to King Koresh (Cyrus), who simply decided to let the Jewish nation return to their homeland and build the second Temple (Ezra 1:1)? He answers that if Hashem had done so and allowed Pharoah to play the role of the "Great Emancipator", the whole point of the exile would’ve been lost. The entire purpose of the exile was two-fold: 1) To prove that Hashem intimately runs every detail of events in the world and that there is no other power other than His.  2) To prove that even the actions of man are carefully orchestrated solely by Hashem. Had Hashem allowed Pharoah to set the Jewish nation free, their gratitude to Hashem would have been compromised. Deep down they always would have felt that some of their gratitude belonged to Pharoah (Imrei Shefer, by R’ Shlomo Kluger, pg. 38).

 It is for this reason that a final showdown between the Egyptian and Jewish nation was necessary. For when the Jewish nation finally left Egypt, although they attributed most of their freedom to Hashem, they still felt that a small amount of credit and gratitude was due to Pharaoh. After all, he certainly had a hand in their freedom albeit only after much "convincing". In order to teach the Jewish nation that no one was involved in their freedom, or any other event for that matter, except for Hashem, He hardened Pharoah's heart in order that he would attack them. After the Jews saw Pharoah attack them, they no longer felt even the minutest feelings of gratitude towards him and realized that Hashem was the ONLY ONE who deserved their gratitude. Additionally, after the Jewish nation witnessed Hashem harden the Egyptians hearts (14:5) and cause them to inexplicably run into the water by the splitting of the sea without giving the miracles that they had witnessed a second thought, the Jewish people recognized that even the decisions of man are FULLY within Hashem's hands.

 It was due to this understanding that caused the Jewish nation to sing one of their greatest songs of praise in their history, Shiras Az Yashir. Only after this lesson was witnessed and internalized by the Jewish people could the exodus come to a dramatic conclusion; for from that point going forward we had an all new confidence that EVERY event that we witness or hear about is solely an act of HASHEM.

 Living Inspired

 This lesson is more relevant to us now than ever before. Never before have we had as much access to news and world events as we do today. We often find ourselves intrigued and caught up in the commentary of "experts", analysts and news reporters. We want to know the particulars of how something happened, why it happened, who was the hero, etc. because we feel that it makes a difference. We can get so caught up with the details that we might begin to believe that it was the brilliance of an individual or might of a country that was the cause of a success or failure. However, we must always recognize that the details of these events were inconsequential and Hashem could have easily accomplished those results with a plethora of other methods as well *.

 This lesson was first taught to us when we left Egypt, and is still so supremely relevant and important to us that we are required to remember the Exodus not once, but twice a day! The mitzvah to remember the Exodus means to remember that Hashem is just as in control and involved with current events NOW as He was back then. Would you like to see acts of G-d? Simply look around you. While the Prophets spoke about what Hashem will do - history books tell of what Hashem has already done, and the news tells us what HE is currently doing. What will our president do next? What will happen with the stock market? Iran? The situation with the Arabs in Eretz Yisroel? Hashem is the only One that deserves our absolute and constant faith, dependence, gratitude and prayers.


*- At the same time, their efforts warrant our thanks, praise and admiration, for we are always required to feel and express gratitude for the efforts of others.