Divrei HaRav

B'Shalach / בשלח

B'Shalach / בשלח

And Moshe said to Yehoshua to choose men and engage in war with Amalek. Later we find that the hands of Moshe became heavy during the battle. Rashi comments that the cause for this was the laxity on the part of Moshe in performing the mitzvah of the war against Amalek. He appointed somebody else to do it. The question could be asked. The חז"ל tell us many times that the children of Amalek will fall into the hands of the descendants of Yosef. In this case, that would be Yehoshua of the tribe of Ephraim. Furthermore, the Ramban explains Moshe’s reasoning. Moshe would daven and give the people a morale boost while Yehoshua would fight. Yet, still Moshe was punished? Although he would not fight the battle, he could have appointed the generals. From here we are taught that one most carry out every part of a mitzvah to his fullest capacity before he relinquishes it to another person.

Chazal say that the maidservant saw great revelations at the Yam Suf and exclaimed, “This is my G-d”. How did the Chazal know it was the maidservant, not one of the leaders of Klal Yisroel? The possuk continues, “The G-d of my fathers.” Now a Jew would always introduce “my fathers” since they were the first to recognize HaShem and only afterwards say “my G-d”. Since the possuk began with “my G-d” it was obviously said by a convert, a maidservant who could not proclaim “G-d of my fathers”. (M’Shulchan Gevoah).

In the parsha it tells of the waters of Mara which were bitter. Moshe cast a stick into them and they sweetened. The possuk, however, then refers us to the mitzvah of Torah study and the adherence to mitzvos. HaShem promises us that if we keep His mitzvos none of the sicknesses of Egypt will harm us. How do we understand this sequence of statements? The “Netziv” explains that the nation at that time was a nation of Torah study. They had not yet come to Eretz Yisroel to tend to their livelihoods. Moshe told them that HaShem will care for them but only the necessities. They would be protected from sickness but would not enjoy the luxuries of life. This is all understood with the final statement – “I am HaShem who heals you". This is the way of Torah, bread and water. He compares those who study Torah to the soldiers of a king who are provided for but not in an extravagant way.

“They complained against Moshe and Aaron in the wilderness”. Why was the complaint about the lack of food denoted with the extra word “bamidbar”, in the wilderness? The Maharil Diskind explains. Rashi tells us that it was just at that time that the matzos which they had brought from Egypt ran out and they had no food to eat. This, then, was their complaint. Why didn’t you lead us to a place where we could, at least, buy provisions? At least to “Eilim” where they could have cut dates to sustain them, not in the wilderness. They were insinuating that the itinerary for the traveling was credited to Moshe and Aaron and they criticized them. To this Moshe answered “you will see that HaShem took you from Egypt”. He will tend to everything.

With the wind of HaShem’s power the waters piled up. The Vilna Gaon, makes an astounding observation. Man is but a pile of matter, a pile of clay. He is motionless and unable to think or reason. HaShem blew into man the source of life and he became animated. Here also, the wind of HaShem gave life to the waters and they piled up by themselves. This then is the meaning of the targum חכימו מיא,”the waters acquired wisdom”.

Why are you davening? Speak to Bnei Yisroel and they should travel, HaShem was telling Moshe. Although the תפלות of a צדיק are great and effective on behalf of another person, the commitment of the Bnei Yisroel to move forward and place their faith in HaShem would be even more beneficial (ר' יוסף מסלוצק).



Previous Parshos

Tazria Metzora Achrei Mos Kedoshim Emor Behar Bechukosai Bamidbar Shavuos Naso Behalosicha Shilach Korach Chukas-Balak Pinchos Matos-Masei Devorim Voeschonon Ekev Reah Shoftim Ki Seitzei Ki Savo Nitzovim - Vayelech Rosh HaShana Haazinu-Yom Kippur Sukkos V'zos HaBrocha Breishis