Thursday, January 21, 2016

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Beshalach

The following is a brief summary of some of 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 began the vort by quoting a Medrash which explained that Moshe began the Shirah with the word "Az" because he had sinned in the end of Parshas Shemos with the word "Az." In Shemos (5:23) we see that Moshe said "Me'Az Basi" - from the time that I came to Pharaoh - you (Hashem) have made it worse. The Medrash explains that Moshe wanted to atone for his wrongful negative accusation so he used the same word "Az" to begin the Shirah.

But there must be more to the use of the word "Az."

R' Frand quoted the Beis HaLevi who explains that there are two different kinds of thanks given to Hashem. There is an expression of gratitude to Hashem for healing him from a disease. The person is genuinely thankful that he has been healed. But still, he would have preferred not to be sickened in the first place.

The second form of thanks is when a person says to Hashem thank you for the sickness and thank you for healing me from being sick. The person recognizes that both aspects are important and are blessings from Hashem.

Moshe is now recognizing that because Pharaoh increased the level of oppression, the Jews spent less time in Egypt as the 400 years were reduced to 210. But more importantly, by virtue of how difficult and stressful the oppression was, there was an even greater Kiddush Hashem. The world saw how the Jews were taken from the depths and freed from Egypt with tremendous miracles. R' Frand said that this became the Jews' mission statement in showing the world the greatness of Hashem.

R' Frand told a story about R' Boruch Sorotzkin who was a Rosh Yeshiva in Telshe. R' Boruch died of cancer, but put up a valiant fight. His widow said that R' Boruch remarked at the end of his life that if someone would have told him before he went through his illness that he could avoid the cancer by paying $1 million he would have said OK. But after he went through the illness if someone would have said the same thing to him, R' Boruch would not have paid the money. He said that he grew tremendously from it and saw the Yad Hashem in what he went  through.

R' Frand observed that this was why Moshe used the word "Az". Moshe he had used the word "Az" and complained again and again. But at the end, Moshe realized that it was worthwhile.

We use the same words in Hallel wherein we say "Odecha Hashem Ki Inisani" - I will praise Hashem because He afflicted me. 

R' Frand said that this is not the universal approach, and it is easier said then done, but there are people who do see the good, even in the disease.

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