Thursday, January 29, 2015

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Beshalach

The following is a brief summary of some of the thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

R' Frand prefaced this vort with the statement that it is based on a thought which appears three times in R' Yaakov Kaminetsky's sefer Emes L'Yaakov. The vort appears twice in Beshalach and once in Ki Sissa.

In Shemos 16:25, Moshe states to the Jewish people that they should eat their manna today because today is Shabbos. Rashi gives a little more color to the story - he explains that the Jews asked Moshe should they go out to collect the manna and Moshe responded, eat what you have.

The answer given by Moshe does not truly address the question. Moshe was asked a yes or no question - should we go out. And Moshe answered the question - eat what you have.

R' Kaminetsky explains that the Jews were concerned - this was the first week that they had manna. They see that there is no manna outside their door, so they asked, should we eat what we have today, or should we save it for tomorrow and go out and look? And Moshe answered them - eat what you have today because today is Shabbos and the message of Shabbos is that Hashem takes care of us.

R' Frand made reference to the old expression from turn of the century (20th) America - if you don't come in on Saturday, don't come back on Monday. At the time, if Jews kept Shabbos and did not come in to work, they were told that there was no job on Monday. The manna was Hashem's answer to the Jews - I will provide.

R' Frand then referenced the second time that the vort was mentioned - on Shemos 15:25 wherein it states that Hashem established laws and tested the Jews. This was the story where the Jews complained that there was no sweet water to drink and Moshe threw a stick in the water and it became sweet. The gemara explains that at this point Hashem gave the Jews three sets of laws - Shabbos, Parah Aduma and general rules (dinnim). 

R' Kaminetsky observed that the instruction to Moshe to throw wood into the bitter water seems counter intuitive. If the water was bitter, Moshe should have thrown in sweetener. However, rather than throw honey or sugar in the water, he threw in wood, Why? Because Hashem was teaching that He provides sustenance and that you can throw a bitter stick in the water and it will turn sweet. This was the opportune time to provide the laws of Shabbos - that Hashem takes care of our needs for Shabbos.

R' Frand then quoted the third time the concept appeared in the Emes L'Yaakov - in parshas Ki Sissa in connection with the sin of the golden calf. He asked - how could the Jews build an egel right after saying Na'aseh V'Nishma? He answered that the Jews had depended on Moshe for sustenance. They knew that the manna came because of Moshe and they were shown by the Satan an image of Moshe dead. And they became worried - because they did not know how the 3 million people would eat. Because they were scared, they built the egel to be an emissary to Hashem.

R' Frand gave an example of how people feel lost when they sit and wait for their GPS to calculate/recalculate. And here the Jews panicked because they did not know how they would live.

R' Kaminetsky tied this vort to a pasuk in Ezekiel which states that Hashem wanted to wipe the Jews out for violating Shabbos. But where is the story of the Jews violating Shabbos? He answers that the Jews did not violate Shabbos, they forgot the foundation of Shabbos - everything comes from Hashem.

R' Frand closed the vort by telling a story about a Jew who used to get fired every Friday for not coming in on Shabbos and how the man received a pink slip. The man used the pink slips to decorate the walls of his sukkah. Why? Because the sukkah is an opportunity to go out of the house and put one's faith in Hashem. Similarly, the message of the manna and Shabbos is that if one places his trust in Hashem, Hashem will take care of him.

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