Dvar Torah Beshalach 2008 – 5768

When the Israelites behold the sea before them and the Egyptians in pursuit behind them they lost their hope of extricating themselves from this quandary. They turned to Moshe and complained why he had talked them into leaving Egypt. Moshe responded to them in a double message.

He first encouraged them not to fear but to have faith. HITYATZVU URE’U ET YESHU’AT HASHEM, “…stand firm and you will see the salvation of Hashem…”. (Ex. 14,13) Then he adds, HASHEM YELACHEM LACHEM VE’ATEM TACHARISHUN, “Hashem will do battle for you and you shall remain silent.” (Ex. 14,14)

The first encouragement he gave them was to remain staunch and steadfast. Salvation does not come out of despair and dejection. Redemption does not come out of fear. You must stand strong and resolute. The second admonition Moshe gave to the people was a challenge. We usually read the verse as a statement that Moshe tells the people to be silent and observe what Hashem will do. A wise Rabbi interpreted the verse as a question, “Hashem will fight for you and you will be silent?” If you want success you must act and not expect others to fight your battles. Hashem will help but you must do your share.

This is true in our personal lives, in community affairs and in national confrontations.


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