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"Avi, in the second chapter of Hallel, we spoke about the splitting of the Yom Suf. Our Sagesii Yalkut Shemoni Beshallach 244 relate that a maidservant at the sea saw more [of the Creator's majesty and holiness] than the prophets Yechezkel and Yishaya. Rashi adds that Hashem's presence at the Yom Suf was so obvious that one could point to it and say, 'This is my G-d, and I will glorify Him.'iii Shemos 15:2 Additionally, the Mitzrim were smitten with ten makkos in Mitzrayim, and at the Yom fifty makkos.iiii Yalkut Shemoni Beshallach 240 The spoils of gold, silver, and precious stones at the sea were greater than those in Mitzrayim.iiv Bamidbar Rabba 13"
"Abba, it seems that Hashem's revelation at the Yom was greater than in Mitzrayim."
"Why was that?"
"The Nesivos Shalomvv Volume 2 p. 291 answers your question, Avi. The purpose of the ten makkos in Mitzrayim was to establish that the Almighty was in control of the world. Pharaoh had denied Hashem's hashgacha when he said, 'Who is Hashem that I should heed His voice to send out Yisrael? I do not know Hashem, nor will I send out Yisrael!'vvi Shemos 5:2 Therefore, he and his nation needed to undergo ten makkos until the truth sank in. 'Mitzrayim shall know that I am Hashem, when I stretch out My hand over Mitzrayim, and I shall take the Bnei Yisrael out from among them.'vvii Shemos 7:5 The wonders of the Yom Suf, however, served a different purpose. Our Father in heaven revealed His love for Bnei Yisrael at the Yom Suf. 'On that day Hashem saved Yisrael from the hand of Mitzrayim.'vviii Shemos 14:30 The salvation alone required nothing more than the killing of the Mitzrim. The Almighty did much more. He dried up the sea, making a path, walls, and a roof for each tribe. He paved the sea floor like marble, brought forth food and drink for the people and their livestock. He made the Mitzrim enter the sea and drowned them in the waters, giving each one the death he deserved according to his deeds. Our Sages list fifty miracles that the Holy One, Blessed be He performed for our fathers at the Yom Suf.iix Meam Loez - Shemos Volume 1, pp. 329-351 All of these show His intense love for His children, Yisrael."
"Abba, what could be greater than receiving the love of the Creator of the Universe?"
"Indeed, Avi. We see this reflected in the words of tefillah. 'Who brought His children through the split parts of the Yom Suf … And His children perceived His power … Moshe and the children of Israel raised their voices to You … Your children beheld Your majesty.'xx From the blessing 'Emmes v'emunah' in 'Ma'ariv' 'For this the beloved praised and exalted G-d; the dear ones offered hymns, songs, praises.'xxi From the blessing 'Emmes v'yatziv' in 'Shacharis' The Elders, who composed our tefillos, used expressions of love and caring when referring to Kriyas Yom Suf, for the Merciful One showered us with His affection at that time."
"Hashem still loves us, Abba!"
"Most definitely Avi. We must never forget that. We can give Him nachas by loving Him in return. One way to cultivate and demonstrate this love is with tefillah. Let these words of Hallel open our hearts to love, praise, and appreciate our Father in heaven and all that He has done for us. May our warm relationship with Hashem grow and grow always!"
Kinderlach . . .
Hashem loves us! He made this apparent at Kriyas Yom Suf. The revelation of His majesty and holiness was on a level unparalleled in history. He performed a myriad of miracles above and beyond those necessary to save the Jewish people. Why? To demonstrate His intense love for His children, His chosen nation - Israel. Someone who loves another person cannot stop doing good things for him. That is Hashem's relationship with us. This should inspire us to love Him in return. How can we show our love? One way is to pour out our hearts with praise and appreciation in tefillah. Hallel is especially appropriate for this, for it describes and recounts those loving miracles that the Merciful One performed for us. Hashem loves us and we love Him in return … with all of our hearts.
"How much is the bill Bernice?"
"Three hundred and fifty seven shekels, Mrs. Meshulem."
"Please put it on my tab."
"With pleasure, Mrs. Meshulem."
Mrs. Meshulem picks up four huge sacks full of groceries and begins leaving the store. An olah chadasha (newcomer to the Land of Israel) looks on, wide- eyed with disbelief. She approaches Mrs. Meshulem.
"I am new in this country. Do you mind if I ask you something?"
"Not at all. But first let me welcome you to the Holy Land."
"Thank you very much. Is this shop keeper really letting you walk out of here without paying for all of these groceries?"
"Yes. She lets me shop on credit."
"What stops you from running away and not paying your bill?"
Mrs. Meshulem thinks for a moment and then answers.
"Three things. Number one, not paying constitutes stealing, which is a very serious sin. Number two, when I pay my bill, the shopkeeper learns to trust me. Therefore, she will give me credit the next time that I shop here. Number three, the shopkeeper can now confidently order more supplies, knowing that the customers will pay. This keeps the store going, which is a great service for all of us."
This is a parable from Rav Yaakov Krantz, who is known to us as the Dubno Maggid. The verse in this week's parasha states, "And you will eat and you will be satisfied, and you will bless Hashem your G-d for the good land that He gave you" (Devarim 8:10). To whom does this good land belong? The verse states, "The land and its fullness is Hashem's" (Tehillim 24:1). However, a different verse seemingly contradicts. "The heavens are Hashem's and the land He has given to man" (Tehillim 115:16). The Gemora (Berachos 35a) resolves this contradiction. Before the bracha (blessing), the land and its fruits belong to Hashem. After the blessing, it belongs to us; therefore, we may eat the fruits. This concept goes so far, that one who takes pleasure from this world without blessing Hashem is considered stealing from Him and from the Jewish people. How do we explain this?
The answer gives us a fascinating insight into the deep meaning of brachot. The Shela explains that each bracha has a tremendous influence in the Heavenly realm and in our world. A bracha has an effect in Heaven, which translates to a blessing of abundance of that type of fruit in the coming year. Therefore, a person who eats with no bracha, or makes the wrong bracha, steals from others by preventing the blessings of sustenance from coming down to this world. He also steals from Hashem by not allowing Him (so to speak) to shower the world with His kindness.
Hashem is like the storekeeper, who extends us credit, by giving us food to eat. On one condition - that we pay by blessing Him. When we pay our bill, He can continue to provide us with an abundant food supply.
Kinderlach . . .
We all know that one of the purposes of a bracha is to thank Hashem for the food that He gives us. That is simple derech eretz, to thank the One Who provides for you. Now we see that berachos have a deeper meaning. They reach to the very Heavens, bringing Hashem's kindness down to this world. Make your berachos carefully and deliberately, kinderlach. They bring good things to Hashem, others, and you.
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