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Parshas B’Shalach  

 “And Moshe made the Jewish people travel from the sea of reeds, and they went out to the desert of Shur” (15:22).
Rashi: “he made them travel against their will.”

The Jewish people did not want to separate and part from the lofty G-dly revelation they witnessed during the Splitting of the Sea. Thus Moshe had to make them travel against their will. Why did Moshe make them leave this great revelation?

Since the G-dly intent is that the Jewish people make a home for Hashem in this physical world, Moshe made them move away from their lofty spiritual level and brought them to the level of the “Desert of Shur” — that is, so that they would recognize that the main purpose is in this lowly world.

This is why the next place they came to was Mara (meaning bitter), because the existence of bitterness and evil is only found in this world.

(Torah Ohr)


The Splitting Of The Sea

Regarding the Splitting of the Sea it says (Tehillim) “He transformed the sea into dry land, they will cross the river on foot.” The first part of the verse is written in the past tense, whereas the second half is written in the future tense. Why is this so?

The place of the souls is in the World of Atzilus (the highest of the four worlds), but their original source is the World of Kesser, which is even more primordial than the World of Atzilus. In reference to this concept the verse says that in the merit of Hashem having “transformed the sea to dry land” in the past, with this strength, in the future, the souls of the Jewish people that reside in Atzilus will be able to cross the “river” (sefiras ha’bina, which divides the World of Atzilus from the World of Kesser) and reach their original source, the World of Kesser.

(Toras Chayim)


 “And the Jewish people cried out to Hashem” (14:10).
Our Sages say (Bereishis Raba) that “the Avos are the Merkava [Divine Chariot].” According to this, the Jewish people are like the wheels (Ofanim, in Hebrew) of the Chariot, and the cries of the Jewish people are like the song of the angels known as Ofanim, which is said b’raash gadol (with a great tumult).

The arousal of the aspect of the “wheels” of holiness caused the wheels of Pharaoh’s chariot to fall off, as it says (14:25), “and He removed the wheels of their chariots.” This is because “Hashem made a world wherein one force is balanced against another,” and when the “voice of Yaakov” is heard, the “hands of Eisav” do not prevail.

(Ohr HaTorah)


“And you, raise your stick” (14:16). Regarding the future Redemption it says (Yeshaya 11), “and he will raise His hand over the river ... and strike it into seven streams” without the mention of a stick. Why is there this difference between the Exodus from Egypt and the future Redemption?

Actually, Moshe did not need the stick in order to split the sea. It was only done to arouse and draw down judgment and punishment upon the Egyptians, as the Sages say (Shmos Rabba), “Hashem only subjugates the wicked with a stick.” But in the Future, when all evil-doers will disappear, there will be no need for a stick.

(“V’Kacha” 5637)


“And you be silent” (14:14). The fourth group cried out to Hashem. Moshe said to them, “and you, be silent.” This is surprising. Why did Moshe discourage them from praying to Hashem?

Moshe’s intent was [as if to say]: The Splitting of the Sea comes from such an elevated place that your prayers (“the arousal from Below”) do not reach there. Thus there is no purpose in them.

(Seifer HaMaamarim 5668)


Shabbos Shira

The custom of the Maharal of Prague on Shabbos Parshas B’Shalach, Shabbos Shira, was that all the teachers and parents would bring their children to the courtyard of the shul, where he asked the teachers to relate the story of the Splitting of the Sea and how the birds chirped and danced while Moshe and the Jewish people sang the Shiras HaYam, and how the children plucked fruits from the trees that grew in the sea (see Shmos Rabba) and gave them to the birds. Then the Maharal said to give kasha to the children for them to give it to the chickens and birds as a remembrance of the fruits which the children gave the birds at the sea. Finally, the Maharal blessed all the children and wished the parents that they merit to raise their children to Torah, chupa, and good deeds.

(Seifer HaSichos)


“And you be silent” (14:14). The lesson we can derive from this is as follows: Sometimes we must close the siddur, remove the tefillin, fold the tallis, and leave the shul — [the concept of] “and you be silent.” Why is all of this necessary? Because outside there are thousands of Jews waiting for someone to come and split their personal “sea” for them. That is, to split the covering which obscures and covers them, and reveal the good hidden within their souls.





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