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Beshalach: Miracles In Our Times

ויושע ה' ביום ההוא את ישראל מיד מצרים וירא ישראל את מצרים מת על שפת הים, וירא ישראל את היד הגדולה אשר עשה ה' במצרים וייראו העם את ה' ויאמינו בה' ובמשה עבדו.

“And Hashem helped the Jewish people on that day from the hands of Egypt, and the Jewish people saw the dead Egyptians on the shore of the sea, and the Jewish people saw the great Hand of what Hashem did in Egypt, and the nation feared Hashem and believed in Hashem and in His servant Moshe.”(Shemos 14:31)

Why does the Torah emphasize that Hashem helped the Jewish people “on that day”? It is quite obvious that the Torah is discussing the miracles that happened during the splitting of the sea, which took place on that day. These words seem to be unnecessary.

There is another question that begs to be asked. The Torah is telling us that the people believed in Hashem and in His servant Moshe. What is the significance of this statement? The Jewish people just witnessed open miracles performed by Hashem through Moshe.  Of course they believed in Him and in His servant – how could they not believe after seeing such amazing miracles with their own eyes? What is the Torah trying to tell us?

The Gemara says (Pesachim 10:5):  “Every person is obligated to see himself as if he personally left Egypt.” It is not enough to imagine oneself leaving Egypt, but we are obligated to envision all of the details of the enslavement and the miracles that Hashem performed, as if we personally witnessed them.

A person who fulfills this obligation would derive tremendous strength from it.  During times of difficulty when he faces a serious problem or crisis, he would think back to the suffering he endured in Egypt and remember the miracles that Hashem performed for him. He will be strengthened with the firm belief that just as Hashem saved him in Egypt, he will surely save him now and everything will turn out for the best. He will therefore be happy and joyous even when dealing with hardships. Just the thought alone of having been saved from Egypt will infuse him with joy.

A person should also envision the miracles that transpired at the sea and imagine himself witnessing all of those happenings – how the sea froze into giant walls and how fruit sprouted from those walls to satisfy those who were hungry. There were many more miracles at the sea,  and it is worthwhile to learn about it from the commentaries on the Torah.

If we would envision all of this and really live through it again, we would merit seeing miracles today just as the ones that Hashem displayed then. Whenever a person recites the “Song of the Sea” (Oz Yoshir) with true inner joy, he merits bringing about miraculous yeshuos (salvation) for himself and for others.

This is the meaning of the words “Hashem helped the people on that day.” These words are actually telling us that Hashem helps everyone “on the day” that they recite the Song of the Sea if they truly envision the miracles and praise Hashem with intense joy.

The verse concludes: “And they believed in Hashem and in His servant Moshe.” Why does the verse make Moshe equal to Hashem? It almost seems improper to say that. We all believe in Hashem; what kind of belief should we have in Moshe?

We can understand this better by looking at what transpired immediately before the splitting of the sea. At first the sea refused to split, citing various arguments. Among others, the sea argued: “I am older than you, Moshe! I was created on the second day of Creation while you were created on the sixth day of Creation. I therefore do not have to submit to your authority!”

This was not a valid argument.  True, the sea was created before the first man was formed, but only before his body was created. Man’s soul is a spark of Hashem, and that existed way before the process of Creation even began! Since Moshe lived a spiritual life, a life centered on his neshama(soul), he preceded the creation of the sea and therefore had the authority to command the sea to split.

In the same vein, the Jewish people believed in Moshe – they believed in his soul, which is a spark of Hashem. They did not believe that Moshe had any independent powers, but they understood that everything he did was through the power of his soul, which is essentially a part of Hashem.

This faith in Hashem and in the Divine Spark within every person is something that remains with us forever, from the day of Kriyas Yam Suf (the splitting of the sea) until today. And if we will relive those moments in our times and praise Hashem for those miracles with the same faith as those who witnessed it personally, we will bring about the same level of Divine favor.

May Hashem help all of us that we should merit being blessed with parnassa, yeshuos and refuos and be zoche to see the ultimate Redemption very soon, Amein.

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