by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS B'SHALACH 5764 BS"DIN HONOUR OF THE BIRTH OF OUR GRANDDAUGHTER RIVA GOLDWASSER TICHYEH BORN 7 SHVAT 5764
Ch. 13, v. 19: "Va'yikach Moshe es atzmos Yoseif imo" - And Moshe took the bones of Yoseif with him - The M.R. 13:19 says that while all the bnei Yisroel busied themselves with amassing gold and silver, Moshe fetched Yoseif's bones. This is the fulfillment of the verse "Chacham leiv yikach mitzvos" (Mishlei 10:9). Why is the one who does this noble act called a "chacham leiv"? When absolutely everyone is doing one thing it is most difficult to do something else. This requires true wisdom. (Hadoroh Shel Torah)
Ch. 13, v. 21: "Lo'leches yomom voloyloh" - To go by day and by night - Why would they travel by day and by night?
1) We can ask another question as well. If they traveled by night why did the clouds of glory leave at night? They were needed to guide the bnei Yisroel's travel, "lanchosom ha'derech". We must say that the traveling at night refers to walking from tribal encampment to tribal encampment within the camp to meet those from other tribes. (Moshav Z'keinim)
2) They were such a large group that to keep moving in unison meant very slow travel. They made up the short distances covered during the day by also traveling at night. (Minchoh V'luloh)
3) This refers to the presence of the cloud of glory by day and the pillar of fire at night. "Lo'leches" means to simply be there. (Abarbanel)
4) This only took place at the beginning of their travels. They were so eager to reach the location of the giving of the Torah that they traveled by day and by night. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)
Ch. 14, v. 21: "Va'yiboku hamoyim" - And the waterS split - This is the translation according to Rashi who says "kol ma'yim shbo'olom," - all waters in the world split. Rashi derives this from the seeming superfluous words "va'yiboku hamoyim." Since the verse already says "va'yo'sem es ha'yom lechorovoh," - He made the sea as a dry surface, the extra words "va'yiboku hamoyim" teach us that all the waters in the world split, just as we find the same word "hamayim" in the phrase "yikovu hamayim" (Breishis 1:9), which surely refers to all the waters of the world. (Rabbi Ovadioh of Bartenura)
Alternatively, the manner through which the splitting the sea took place was by Hashem's removing the ability of the celestial ministering angel of water to have water be cohesive. Once this ability was removed, it affected all the waters of the world. (Toldos Yitzchok)
Ch. 14, v. 21: "Va'yiboku hamoyim" - And the water split - The story is told of a stone being found in Russia which baffled the country's top geologists. They could not figure out what type of stone it was, nor its properties. The foremost stone experts of that time were in Germany. The stone was sent to the German experts who, in spite of much research, also came up with nothing. Being stumped, they decided to send it to a person whom they considered a very wise person, who had a broad base of general knowledge, moshe mendelson. He too, came up with nothing. Being a high profile representative of secular Jewry, and not want to be shown as lacking in knowledge, and yet not knowing the nature of the stone, he suggesting that the stone be sent to Lithuania to the GR"A. Assuming that the GR"A would also not know the nature of the stone, at least the impression of the gentiles of this secular Jew would be no less than that of religious Jews, amply represented by the GR"A, whose wisdom was world renown. The stone continued on its odyssey to Vilna. When shown to the GR"A he only spent a moment examining it, also responded that he knew nothing of its nature, and immediately threw himself back into his studies. The person who brought the stone to the GR"A left, assumed that the GR"A would surely study it later on for a length of time, and planned to come back later for the GR"A's response after having seriously studied the stone.
Heavenly intervention took place. The GR"A had placed the stone down on his table and a child entered, took the stone, and played with it. He placed it into a glass of water, and wonder of wonders, the water in the glass split into two parts. He screamed when he saw this oddity, diverting the GR"A from his studies. When he too saw this phenomenon, he realized that this stone was none other than a "sanpirnon," which the gemara Yerushalmi (I have yet to find this gemara.) says has the power to split water into two parts. He then gave this answer to the messenger who brought the stone, and of course, when this was publicized it brought a great sanctification of Hashem and publicized the great wisdom of religious Torah scholars.
When the news came back to mendelson, attempting to offer a rejoinder, he sent off a letter to the GR"A asking, if he were correct in his identification of the stone as "sanpirnon" he had negated the miracle of the splitting of Yam Suf. Moshe made use of his staff, which M.R. Shmos 8:3 and Tanchuma parshas Tazria ch. #8 say was made of "sanpirnon," whose nature is to split water according to the GR"A. The GR"A responded with the opinion of the Rabbeinu Yechiel, the Rosh, and others that the command "ho'reim" (verse 16) means "separate the staff," put it away, "untei es yodcho," and only use your hand. (Addendum to Shaa'rei Parnosoh Tovoh)
Ch. 14, v. 21: "Va'yiboku hamoyim" - And the water split - A most gifted sculptor once crafted a marvelous horse from stone. It was not only life-like in shape, but even the colouring of the stone reflected reality, truly taking on the appearance of a live horse, minus only its neighing. Not being satisfied with the accolades of his relatives, he decided to place it into a public area and to hear the praises of the masses. In the dead of the night he had it transported to a very frequented public park, having it placed at the edge of a great expanse of grass. The next morning he went there incognito, no one knowing that he was the creator of this sculpted marvel, waiting for great praises to the "unknown" sculptor. To his utter disappointment, although there were many people in the park, not one remark. It seems that the stone horse was so life-like that people thought it was just another horse, a commonplace sight in the city during that era.
After a number of hours he returned home to his family and reported the lacklustre response. His wife came up with the following suggestion: "Why not saw your horse in half and place the two sections a few centimetres apart? When people see what they believe is a real-life horse in two parts, you'll surely get a major response." He did this, and of course, people marveled at the sight. Since the creation of the world all took the flowing of water for granted. It was only when Hashem split the water and people saw a space between the two sections that they reacted to this marvel. The normal continual flow of water is a marvel just as well. This is the intention of the verse, "umoloh ho'oretz dei'oh es Hashem kama'yim la'yom m'chasim" (Yeshayohu 11:9). The world will become filled with recognition of Hashem, not only when He wreaks miracles, when He splits the water and the seabed is visible, but even "KAma'yim," WHEN the water, "la'yom m'chasim," covers the seabed, and flows normally. (Rabbi Osher Weiss shlit"a in Hagodoh Shel Pesach Minchas Osher)
We unfortunately take the workings of "nature" for granted. They are all the marvelous creations of Hashem. Indeed, the word "teva," nature, literally means "sunken," the same as the word form that appears in our parsha of the drowning of the Egyptians (15:4). Hashem's presence is "sunken" into His creations. Rabbi Dovid Nieto of London, England told his congregation that "Elokim" has the same numerical value as "teva" because they are one and the same. This caused quite an uproar in the community as some considered this heresy. However, the Chacham Zvi (responsa #19, signed by himself and his court) wrote that Rabbi Nieto was right.
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