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The Commentators ask a question on this week's parashah. There seems to be a contradiction between two passages describing the Israelites crossing the Reed Sea. In one place it says, "The Children of Israel came within the sea on dry land; and the water was a wall for them, on their right and on their left" (Shemos 14:22). In the other it says, "The Children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea; the water was a wall for them, on their right and on their left" (Ibid. 14:29). In the first passage it says that they were within the sea on dry land; in the second one it says that they went on dry land in the midst of the sea. Why does the Torah reverse the order of the sea and the dry land in the two phrases?

The Noam Me'Elimelech answers that the Torah is teaching us an important lesson in the mitzvah of Bitachon (confidence in Hashem). The Israelites felt the same whether they were on dry land or in the midst of the sea. When they were in the sea, they felt as secure as when they were on solid ground. And when they were on the shore, they felt as insecure as when they were in the water!

In other words, they were on such a high level that they realized that wherever they are they are in the hands of Hashem; if He protects them, then they are safe; if not, G-d forbid, then they are in danger. They were not fooled into thinking that Nature is a separate entity which dictates its own guidelines. They knew that Nature is only a messenger of Hashem and that it is He, and only He, Who determines what should occur. The ocean doesn't drown the person nor does the solid ground shelter him. Whatever happens, joy or tragedy, it is only because that is what Hashem decreed.

In the fabulous sefer, Lulei Sorasechah, the story is recorded about a distraught young man who came to Harav Shach zt"l and complained that his daughter was hired as a teacher, but she was suddenly informed that she will not be getting the job. Upon investigating, the father discovered that someone else applied extreme pressure to the management and used his connections to push out his daughter to make room for his own granddaughter. The young man began to cry and said that the atmosphere in his house is like Tish'ah B'Av. He begged the Rosh Yeshiva, as President of Chinuch Ha'Atzma'i, to call the head of the school and insist that he correct his misdeed.

Rav Shach replied that there are two separate issues which should not be confused. "Of course, the plague of "Protektzia" must certainly be eradicated. But you didn't come here to fight for morality. What concerns you is your daughter's livelihood. But I promise you, that whatever income was designated for her in Heaven is exactly what she will receive, not a drop less. The Sages taught us that no one can interfere with what was destined for another, not even a hairsbreadth. That fellow is a fool for trying to get what was his anyway through underhanded ways. Let us, at least, be smart.

"The Rabbis taught," the Rosh Yeshiva continued, "that a person's sustenance is comparable to the splitting of the Reed Sea. When Hashem split the sea," Rav Shach concluded, "everyone went across. No one was left behind on the shore!"

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel