by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS B'SHALACH 5763 BS"D
Ch. 13, v. 18: "Vachamushim olu vnei Yisroel mei'eretz Mitroyim" - And the bnei Yisroel ascended from the land of Egypt armed - The M'galeh Amukos translates "chamushim" as 50. The bnei Yisroel were to have remained in Egypt for 480 years, and they left "chamushim," 50 years earlier. The Asoroh Maamoros says that the power of Lilis, whose numerical value is 480 and has 480 layers, "klipos," of impurity, was upon the bnei Yisroel. They therefore were to remain in bondage for 480 years. This negative power was reduced one "klipoh" per year, until 480 years after the redemption from Egypt King Shlomo built the Beis Hamikdosh. Hashem began reducing the power of this impurity by drowning Paroh's army, "sus Paroh," whose numerical value is also 480 (plus "alef hakollel). Miriam sang praises to Hashem for diminishing this power with the use of a drum, "tof," whose numerical value is also 480.
Ch. 14, v. 7: "Sheish mei'os rechev bochur .. v'sholishim al kulo" - Six-hundred choice wagons .. and officers on all - Here we have 600 military wagons pursuing the bnei Yisroel, while by Cicero there were 900 (Shoftim 4:13). If we calculate the ratio of these two amounts externally, "milgav," then Cicero came with a fleet of chariots that was 1/3rd larger. Because Yam Suf cooperated with Hashem and spat out the Egyptians to the shore, so that the bnei Yisroel could be eye-witness to their pursuers death, Hashem paid back Nachal Kishon with allowing it to retain those who drown in its waters. The payback was 1/3rd larger, and this is the meaning of "v'sholishim al kulo," - and a third more than all those who pursued this time. (M'ga'leh Amukos in "ofan" #89)
Ch. 14, v. 8: "Uvnei Yisroel yotzim b'yod romoh" - And the children of Yisroel left with upraised arms - In the beginning of chapter 3 of Koheles the verses tell us of 28 contrasting times, "eis l'..". These 28 times correspond to 2 times "yad," spelled Yud-Dalet, which has the numerical value of 14. The right "yad" is mercy, as per our verse, "uvnei Yisroel yotzim b'YOD romoh." The left "yad" is judgement, as per the verse, "YAD Hashem hoysoh bom l'humom." These two 14's correspond to the 28 nights that the moon is visible each month. Fourteen of these days the moon waxes, while 14 it wanes. He who is born in the first half of the month, when it waxes, finds wealth, children, sustenance, and life readily. He who is born during the time of the month when it wanes, will be lacking in the above. The statement in the gemara P'sochim 118a , "Koshin m'zonosov shel odom kikrias Yam Suf," - a person's sustenance is as difficult to procure as the splitting of Yam Suf - applies to this person. (Holy Zohar Breishis page 155.)
Ch. 14, v. 9: "Chonim al ha'yom" - Pausing by the sea - Targum Yonoson ben Uziel writes that the bnei Yisroel stopped at the sea to collect precious jewels that the Pishon washed out of Gan Eden into the Gichon, which in turn sent them to Yam Suf. It seems that he says this because Egypt was already emptied, "va'y'natzlu es Mitzrayim" (Shmos 12:36). Those who say that the bnei Yisroel collected the riches that Paroh and his army brought along with themselves might posit that the bnei Yisroel liquidated the Egyptian citizenry of its possessions and now they received the possessions belonging to the government, a.k.a. Paroh.
Ch. 14, v. 9: "Kol sus" - Every horse - On the words in Shir Hashirim 1:9, "L'susosi b'richvei Pharoh dimisich ra'yosi" - to a female horse with the chariots of Paroh I have enlikened you my friend - the Holy Zohar writes that the male horses saw a vision of female horses and this spurred them on to travel forward. Some interpret this to mean that a mirage appeared in front of the horses in Yam Suf, and this appealing vision caused them to run into the Yam. Shaa'rei Aharon explains this to mean that Paroh harnessed female horses to the front of his chariots and males behind. Upon seeing the female horses the male horses became stimulated and indicated this with certain sounds. The females, who were in no mood for such activities while in the middle of military duty, ran forward in an attempt to get away. This propelled the chariots forward at an amazing speed. When they came upon the bnei Yisroel, Paroh strategically switched their positions, placing the males in front, as they are stronger, readying for combat.
All of this is good and fine. However, how does it explain the words in Shir Hashirim, comparing the bnei Yisroel, Hashem's friend, to female horses that pulled Paroh's chariot?
The Kedushas Levi explains that normally a wagon driver controls his horses, giving them guidance in direction, to begin moving, and to come to a stop. The M.R. says that when the chariots of Paroh came to the bank of Yam Suf Paroh the drivers were unable to stop the horses from running into the water. Perhaps this was because the ground under them became a morass of hot mud, as per the M.R. Upon seeing water they were spurred to run into it to find relief. In any case, the horses and not the riders were in control, contrary to the norm. This is the intention of this verse. As a rule, Hashem dictates. In this verse in the Song of Songs, Hashem is extolling the love He has for the bnei Yisroel, saying that they are enlikened to the horses that led Paroh's chariots. Just as the horses were in control, in spite of the wishes of the driver, so too, Hashem issues edicts that are sometimes negative. His beloved, the bnei Yisroel, through their heartfelt prayers, are in control and can turn around the edict.
Ch. 14, v. 22: "V'hamayim lo'hem chomoh" - And the water was for them a wall - We find the word "mayim" relating to the incident of Yam Suf in our parsha 11 times. Similarly we find "mayim" 11 times in the story of creation, and as well by the great deluge, "mabul." As well, in the parsha of testing the "sotoh" the word "mayim" appears 11 times. Once again, by the incident of Yehoshua and crossing the Jordan River "mayim" is mentioned 11 times. Hashem waited for the 11th generation from creation, Noach's generation, to punish them. They were punished by drowning, a form of "chenek," because they sinned for the sin of adultery, which is punishable by "chenek." Similarly, the Egyptians took the bnei Yisroel into their control. The bnei Yisroel are the marriage partners of Hashem, so the Egyptians at Yam Suf were also punished by drowning. (M'ga'leh Amukos)
Ch. 14, v. 27: "Va'yoshov ha'yom .. l'eisono" - And the sea returned .. to its strength - The Holy Zohar (Shmos page #301) writes that in the merit of Avrohom, who is called "Eison hoEzrochi" (M'lochim 1:5:11) the bnei Yisroel were saved from the clutches of the Egyptians. We are all well aware of the Medrash Shochar Tov on T'hilim 114, that when the Yam Suf saw Yoseif's casket it split. Does the Holy Zohar disagree with the medrash? It seems not. Note that Avrohom's merit is mentioned regarding the sea returning to its strength, "l'eisono," i.e. that it flowed again and drown the Egyptians. The Holy Zohar says that in Avrohom's merit the bnei Yisroel were SAVED. Even with the splitting of Yam Suf, had the Egyptians not drowned they would have captured the bnei Yisroel. Thus the bnei Yisroel were saved in the merit of Avrohom. The merit of Yoseif was that Yam Suf split in the first place. Perhaps each one's merit is in keeping with what he had done during his lifetime. Yoseif was not of the nature of bringing about the downfall of anyone. To the contrary, he was the provider of food during a devastating famine, "hu hamashbir" (Breishis 42:6), even for the Egyptians. On the other hand, Avrohom throughout his life vanquished enemies, for example the war of the 5 kings against the 4, the plagues that visited Paroh when he took Soroh. See a most powerful essay on this point in Haa'meik Dovor and Marchiv Dovor on Breishis 12:17 d.h. "al dvar Sorai eishes Avrom."
Ch. 14, v. 28: "Lo nishar bo'hem ad echod" - The Medrash Shochar Tov on T'hilim brings a disagreement between Rabbi Yochonon and Rabbi Nechemioh. Rabbi Yochonon interprets these words to mean that even Paroh was drowned, while Rabbi Nechemioh posits that Paroh was saved (see Ibn Ezra). In our daily prayers we say "echod mei'hem lo nosar." Is this to be understood only according to Rabbi Yochonon? Perhaps we can say that these words are also in consonance with Rabbi Nechemioh and "echod mei'hem lo nosar" can be understood as "echod mei'hem," the unique one, the king (see Rashi on Breishis 26:10 d.h. "achad ho'om"), "lo nosar," was left over as a "lo," a nothing, "er iz gebli'ben a gornisht," as he was deposed from his position as king.
Ch. 15, v. 22: "Va'yasa Moshe es Yisroel" - And Moshe caused the bnei Yisroel to travel - The Ibn Ezra writes that after the drowning of the Egyptians the Clouds of Glory left, as they were not needed. For a while the bnei Yisroel traveled without clouds, as the weather was pleasant. This lasted until they came to Har Sinai. Since they were to remain there for a year, they built themselves huts made of wood. They brought wood with them from Egypt. Once the Mishkon was built the Clouds of Glory returned. It is as a remembrance of the wooden huts in which they resided during this period that we build wooden huts, "sukos."
Ch. 15, v. 26: "V'ha'yoshor b'einov taa'seh" - And that which is righteous in His eyes you shall do - The Mechilta says that this refers to one who conducts his business with scrupulous honesty, and does so in a manner that people are very pleased with his behaviour. One who does this is considered as if he has fulfilled all the Torah's precepts.
Ch. 16, v. 4: "Hin'ni mamtir" - Behold I rain down - The Ibn Ezra says that "mamtir" is used here although there was no rain, because the manna came down from above like rain. The Ramban brings another verse where we find the same, "VaShem himtir al S'dome v'al Amoroh gofris vo'aish" (Breishis 19:24). The Ramban says that perhaps there is no proof from that verse because there might have been rain as well. Indeed, Rashi on that verse says that there was rain. The Sifsei Chachomim says that Rashi says this because he is concerned with the use of the word "himtir," which the Sifsei Chachomim says must be understood literally. It seems from our verse that this is not so, but rather that whenever it can encompass actually raining we say that this is the intention of the verse, but where not, we would follow the Ibn Ezra.
Ch. 16, v. 16: "Omer lagulgo'les" - The Ibn Ezra writes that this amount of manna was for each adult, while for the young children there was less.
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