Beshalach

Beshalach: Great Expectations

Throughout the Exodus story, the Jewish people are silent. We do not know what they were thinking or doing during the plagues. We hear them rejoicing when Moshe first arrives with the message of redemption (Shemot 4:31), and complaining when his initial meeting with Pharaoh ends with an even more onerous slavery. But that is all we hear of them until just before the 10th plague when, to be worthy of redemption, the people were commanded to slaughter a sheep and place its blood on the doorpost. Yet the actual voices of the Jewish people remain silent until they have left Egypt.

Beshalach: The Best of Intentions

Whether we are preparing for an exam, a simcha, a job interview, or retirement, our success is directly proportional to our preparatory efforts. Immigrants who arrive in a new country without adequate preparation for what lies ahead face enormous difficulties and challenges beyond those that are a standard part of any migration. The numbers of olim who moved to Israel in the euphoria surrounding the return of Jerusalem to Jewish control, yet eventually returned to their western countries of origin, attest to this law of nature.

Beshalach: Let's Go Back

Whether we are preparing for an exam, a simcha, a job interview, or retirement, our success is directly proportional to our preparatory efforts. Immigrants who arrive in a new country without adequate preparation for what lies ahead face enormous difficulties and challenges beyond those that are a standard part of any migration. The numbers of olim who moved to Israel in the euphoria surrounding the return of Jerusalem to Jewish control, yet eventually returned to their western countries of origin, attest to this law of nature.

Beshalach: Saving Our Enemies

When Moshe and Aharon first approached the Jewish people in Egypt, “the people believed; they accepted that G-d remembered the Jewish people” (Shemot 4:31). Yet soon thereafter, Pharaoh  increased  their workload, and instead of being seen as the messengers of redemption, Moshe and Aharon were seen as the cause of their problems. “You have placed a sword to kill us in their hands” (Shemot 5:21) they are told. Moshe was despondent, as the people’s belief in G-d had dissipated.

BeShalach: Dying in the Desert

This week's Devar Torah is sponsored by Sharon Goldberg in observance of the Yahrzeit of her father, Haskell Zabitsky, Yechezkel ben Yerachmiel, z"l. 


“And Pharaoh approached...they saw the Egyptians marching at their rear, and the people became very frightened. The Israelites cried out to G-d....They said to Moshe, ‘It would have been better for us to be slaves in Egypt than to die in the desert’” (14:10-12).  

Beshalach: Ahavat Yisrael, Defined

The book of Shemot details the emergence of the Jewish people as a nation. Though descending from spiritual giants, the nascent nation displayed great fickleness in their relationship to G-d. On the one hand, they showed tremendous faith in following Moshe into an unknown desert. These same Jews, however, wasted no time complaining whenever things were a little tough. G-d's past benevolence was quickly forgotten.

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