Points to Ponder

Beshalach 5779

 וַֽחֲמֻשִׁ֛ים עָל֥וּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מֵאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרָֽיִם They left armed (13:18) - The Rema MiPanu notes that the Jewish nation was on the 50th level of Tumah and this is the intent of the Possuk when we note that they left armed (Chamushim = Chamishim). Rav Moshe Wolfson Shlita adds that if you count the number of times that the Torah speaks about Yetzias Mitzrayim, it is 50 times. This, too reminds us of the departure from the 50th level of Tumah. When we say Kol HaMarbeh L’Saper Harei Zeh Mishubach we mean that we only mention the idea when it becomes a Shevach -- a praise.

 וַיִּקַּ֥ח משֶׁ֛ה אֶת־עַצְמ֥וֹת יוֹסֵ֖ף עִמּ֑וֹ Moshe took the bones of Yosef (13:19) - The Talmud (Sukkah 13) praises Moshe for taking care of Yosef’s bones while the rest of the nation was taking money from the Egyptians. Moshe is credited with taking Mitzvos. But weren’t Bnei Yisrael ALSO doing a Mitzva? Didn’t Hashem tell THEM to ask for gold and silver? Also, the word  “Mitzvos” is a big reach -- isn’t it more correct to say “Yikach Mitzva”? Rav Betzalel Rudinsky Shlita  suggests that there are 2 types of actions. One type is the action for itself. You do that which is requested and this is what is appreciated. There are other actions that are not as important per se but have an intent behind them and if you achieve the intent it is as if you performed the action. When it came to taking spoils of Mitzrayim, Hashem wanted to enrich Bnei Yisrael. If a person said “I have enough” then Hashem’s intent would be considered achieved. When it comes to Yosef’s bones, the job cannot be circumvented. Thus, by passing up on the mitzva of taking from the Egyptians and dealing with Yosef’s bones, Moshe did 2 Mitzvos and was recognized for both.

כִּֽי־גָאֹ֣ה גָּאָ֔ה ס֥וּס וְרֹֽכְב֖וֹ רָמָ֥ה בַיָּֽם:  A horse and its rider (15:1) - Rashi points out that the double language of Gaoh Gaah is important here because it highlights that Hashem did something that man could never do. Hashem destroyed the rider and the horse wherein horse and rider never separated -- even in all the tumult. Why was that such a big deal to the Jews viewing it? Rav Shmuel Berenbaum ztl. explains that when a person is so attached to his animal that s/he treats the animal as a human, s/he also becomes influenced by the animal’s behavior. A parallel concept exists by those influenced by Torah. If we are so close to it, we become living embodiments of the Torah’s standards. This was the intent here too. In order to contrast the Jew with the Mitzri, Hashem showed us that if you are so attached to something you will be uplifted by it or go down with it. That is the greatness of Hashem -- we should attach ourselves to Him.   

 אִ֣ישׁ מִלְחָמָ֑ה Hashem is the master of war (15:3) - Rav Reuven Bulka Shlita explains that to be a master of war means to be a winner in war and in life. Only Hashem has the ability to be a master of war because He has the ability to wage war while being focused on preservation of the sacred nature of human life. It is an ability to realize that the necessity to fight does not invade His essence or “personality.” A Jew whether Yaakov preparing for his confrontation with Eisav or a member of the IDF confronting those bent on destroying him, strives to Emulate Hashem in this regard.

 שָׁ֣ם שָׂ֥ם ל֛וֹ חֹ֥ק וּמִשְׁפָּ֖ט  Chok & Mishpat (15:3) - The Gemara in Sanhedrin suggests that this means that the Jews received certain Mitzvos in Marah including the idea of Dinim. The problem is that Dinim are included in the concept of Sheva Mitzvos Bnei Noach? How could it be that the Jews received it again? The Gemara answers that this means that they received the rules of fines (Dinei Knasos) which did not exist prior. Rav Schachter Shlita reminded us that this does not fit with the position of the Ramban who holds that even the Umos HaOlam are commanded to have institutions of fines. This is perhaps the gemara’s intent at the end of Chullin where the gemara identifies 30 mitzvos Bnei Noach. Where are they? Rav Schachter suggested that this is the 24 Avos Nezikin along with the 6 remaining mitzvos Bnei Noach.

 לְמַ֧עַן אֲנַסֶּ֛נּוּ  So that I shall test you (16:4) - Rav Eliezer Melamed Shlita points out that the test of the Manna -- to depend on it from day to day and leave nothing over for the next day was a tremendous one. The main challenge that we have in this world is that challenge of providing for our families. Hashem’s goal in introducing the challenge of the Manna was an attempt to change the thinking constructs that the nation of former Avadim had -- namely that they were enslaved to Pharaoh and now they should not become slaves to their own desires and work schedules.

 וְאַֽהֲרֹ֨ן וְח֜וּר תָּֽמְכ֣וּ בְיָדָ֗יו מִזֶּ֤ה אֶחָד֙ וּמִזֶּ֣ה אֶחָ֔ד  Moshe’s hands were heavy...and Aharon and Chur each took one hand (17:12) - Rav Schwab ztl.  notes that Aharon is recognized as the universal war hawk who moved to battle immediately. Moshe had to take each of these styles into account when leading the people through tough times and use each one appropriately. Rav Schwab adds that this ability to twin the styles was lost later when the people were going through the Eigel episode with Moshe absent.

Haftara: עוּרִ֚י עוּרִי֙ דְּבוֹרָ֔ה ע֥וּרִי ע֖וּרִי דַּבְּרִי־שִׁ֑יר  Arise Arise Devorah (Shoftim 5:12) - Rashi cites the Gemara (Pesachim 66b) that Devorah lost her Ruach HaKodesh for her declaration that until I, Devorah came. If that was so bad, why does she repeat the error and single herself out again here? The author of the Ben Porat Yosef explains that the mention of her name here was to remove the Gaavah (hubris) hence she said -- “speak a shir” to daven to remove the Gaava from her heart. She was calling herself out on her missteps.