Shvii Shel Pessach 5761 – Gilayon #182

Shabbat Shalom The weekly parsha commentary – parshat

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Seventh Day of Passover




The Redemption from Egypt – Then, Now, and in the Future

"And to recount all your wonders." – Said Rav Avin: This refers to Hallel, which relates to the past and to the future; it touches upon current generations and upon the days of the Messiah, and upon the days of Gog and Magog. "When Israel went out of Egypt" – in the past; "Not for our sake, God" – current generations; "I love Him, for God hears my voice" – the days of Messiah; "All the nations surround me" –the days of Gog and Magog; "You are my God and I will thank you" – in the future.

(Vayikra Rabba, Parasha 30)

The Liberation of Slaves is Also the Liberation of Masters

"When Israel left Egypt" — This is what is referred to in "Egypt rejoiced in their departure". (Psalms 105:38)

Rav Berechia said: This is comparable to a corpulent man who was riding upon a donkey. This one says: "When will I get off this donkey?" And this one says: "When will he get off my back?" When the time came to climb down, I know not which was the happier. When David saw how happy they were upon exiting Egypt, he began to sing praise for the exodus, and said: "When Israel left Egypt etc.".

(Midrash Tehillim, Psalm 114)




In Memory of My Father, Mordecai Halevy Rubenstein,

Who Crossed a Sea of Fire to Dwell East of the Great Sea

And Passed Away on the Eve of the Festival

on the Shore Of the Copper Sea

"Every Day They Rise Up Against Us to Destroy Us"



Chayim Rubenstein

The creation of water is nowhere described – we read only of its division 'between water and water'. It is as if it were drawn from other worlds, eternal and constant. As if its essence touches upon other forms, upon hidden essences, it's source is life, it is entirely a non-ending process. All the streams run to the sea, but the sea is never full – its entirety is dynamic, changing form and adapting form, waves come and recede, it is full of life, its depths unknown, in its bosom unseen depths.

Everyone has a Sea of 'Sof' in the middle of his life, a Sea of Finality. Sometimes even twice. One stands on the shore, there is no bridge, no place whole. He turns here and there, but the sea has no end, it is shattered, it strikes, smites and returns. The breaking waves spray their foam upon the rocks, and the color of the sea turns green. How shall he cross this wilderness, forge a path between its waves?

Everyman has a Sea of 'Sof' in his life; he, too, has the army of Egypt behind him, speeding-galloping. Soon they will smash his back against the waves. There is no exit from the labyrinth, on the edge of the depth and the pit . . . a crushing sensation of no-exit.

The faith which results in poetry is the key to the exit of the labyrinth. At that point where logic failed, Nachshon leaped into the sea, moving ahead even as the waters reached his nostrils. A second before he choked, the sea split into two, dry land was revealed, and the way to the desert shore was opened. When they climbed onto the safe shore, clothes still dripping water and fear, they began to sing – "For lo, Moshe would recite a single passage and they would answer in refrain "I will sing to God, for he has triumphed, yes, triumphed; the horse and its charioteer he flung into the sea!" "This teaches us that Israel repeated after Moshe every passage as they recited the Hallel" (Sotah, 5:4)

The redemption of the nation found expression in the song of the redeemed, who thank God and extol his wonders. In its journey through history, Israel is destined to encounter many seas, some more tempestuous, some less. The Song of David, read as the Haftara, is the expression of one of these occasions, and the Song of Devorah, read as Haftara for Parashat Beshalach, bear similarities to the Song of Moshe.

Rabbi Yossi the Gallilean expounded: When Israel climbed out of the sea, they prepared to sing. How did they do so? An infant on his mother's lap and a baby sucking his mother's breasts – when they saw the Heavenly Presence, the infant raised his head, and the baby let the nipple slip from his mouth, and they recited "This is my God, and I will glorify Him!", as is written "From the mouths of infants and sucklings You have founded strength." Rabbi Meir said, From whence do we know that even fetuses in their mother's womb recited song? It is written "In assemblies bless the Lord". (But are they not incapable of seeing?! Said Rabbi Tanchum, "The abdomen became for them like a window pane and they saw). (Sotah 30b)

Israel's faith was the source of its survival. Israel crossed many oceans thanks to its belief, not to its logic. This day, the seventh day of Pesach, is the day on which we recite Shira – the Song – the song which applies to all the redemptions, personal and public alike, a day of assembly, a day of pause. Seven days distant from the exodus from Egypt, a week of independence as a people, Moshe stands and sings the song of the redeemed, as an expression of freedom, faith, and gratitude. From this song, every Jew takes the strength to cross seas, knowing that dry land will always be lie ahead, walls of water on the right and the left.

Chayim Rubenstein is involved in education


Translator's apology: In the Hebrew printed edition of "Shabbat Shalom," Chayim Rubenstein's feature essay appeared in the form of a majestic poem. The greatness of poetry lies in its ability to include past, present and future. Inasmuch as some of our readers might have found the reading of poetry difficult, "Shabbat Shalom" also offered a somewhat different version in prose.. Since this translator could not possibly do justice to the richness and depth of Chayim's poem, the reader of this English version will have to content himself with the above translation of the prose version. (Another good reason to become fluent in Hebrew!)




The Holy One, Blessed Be He — Sometimes in Opposition to Man and Ministering AngelsDoes Not Rejoice in the Downfall of the Wicked

And we recite "Thank the Lord, for his goodness endures forever." Said Rabbi Yochanan, Why is "for He is good" not included in this praise? Because the Holy One, Blessed Be He, does not rejoice in the fall of the wicked, as Shmuel bar Nachman said in the name of Rabbi Yochanan: What is the meaning of "And they did not approach each other all through the night" – the ministering angels desired to chant songs of praise. Said The Holy One, Blessed Be He: My creations are drowning in the sea, and you recite song before me?! Said Yossi bar Hanina: He does not rejoice, but He causes others to rejoice, and this is deduced from the fact that it is written "so he causes (others) to rejoice" and not "he rejoices".

(Yalkut Shimoni, II Chronicles 2:20)


Does not rejoice, etc.: This means that joy exists where there is wholeness, and then there is joy, and it was God's will that these be created because He is the cause of everything. And when the world was created, "God rejoices in his creations", because God wants and desires his creations, and how shall he rejoice in their destruction, as they [the Sages] said, "My creations are drowning and you wish to sing before me?" Therefore He does not rejoice, but He causes others to rejoice, for, from the perspective of others, the wicked torment and oppose them, and it is fitting that they rejoice in their fall, — and this is explained.

"This Hallel is Read with omissions, etc." — This is because on the seventh day of Pesach, the Egyptians drowned. Said The Holy One, Blessed Be He, "My creations are drowning in the sea, and you sing songs before me?" And since on the seventh day we do not recite the complete Hallel, so during Chol HaMoed, we do not recite it, lest it seem more important than the last day of the festival.

(Mishna Berura, 490;7)


What's Happening in the Movement?

An Evening of Study and Discussion on the Subject:

Recognizing the Suffering of the Other –

A Religious Obligation and a PsChallenge

The meeting will take place, with God's help, oTuesday, 25 Nissan (17.4.01)

at 20:00 at the Shalom Hartman Institute (Rehov Gedalia Alon),



Dr. Danny Brom, Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Muhammad Horani (Shalom

Hartman Institute), Dr. Shafik Masaalha (Clinical Psychologist – Tel Aviv U.) and Rabbi David Rosen.

The evening will be chaired by Professor Alice Shalvi.


Editorial Board: Pinchas Leiser (Editor), Miriam Fine (Coordinator), Itzhak Frankenthal and Dr. Menachem Klein

Translation: Kadish Goldberg

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The New Israel Fund

The Moriah Fund



Tax exempt contributions to Oz VeShalom may be made through the New Israel Fund. Contributions should be marked as donor-advised to OzVeShalom/Netivot Shalom.

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