Beshalah – Thoughts on the Perasha

In this week’s Perasha we are witness to one of the greatest miracles of all time, the parting of the Red Sea, and the demise of the Egyptian army.  The event was so inspiring that it led to the famous song known as Shirat HaYam – The Song at the Sea.

Moshe, as he was composing the Song, utilized the word אז – Az, at the beginning, which means “then”. He figured that when he complained to G-d when he went to Pharaoh and Pharaoh didn’t let go of the Israelites, Moshe said :UmeAz – ומאז, “and from then” referring that from the moment when he went to Pharaoh it became worse for Bene Israel than better. Moshe wanted to praise the A-mighty with the same word that he complained, therefore correcting his mistake in complaining. The Az became the beginning of one of the most beautiful songs of praise to G-d.

Shirat HaYam is recited each day during morning prayers, recognizing the wonderful miracles and the greatness of Hashem.  On the banks of the Red Sea that fateful day the mindset of the average “Jew” was probably one of doubt.  Being surrounded by a mighty Egyptian army and a powerful pagan society, the Israelites needed a very significant message.  Shirat HaYam is the ultimate tribute to the concept of Hashem being the divine, and the “death” of not only the Egyptian legions, but the philosophy of idol worship.  The song recounts in many ways the strength and all-powerful nature of our One G-d.

Today, the Jewish People and the nation of Israel, and for that matter, humanity in general are surrounded by people with a philosophy of hate, violence and supremacy. This has created again, a mindset of uncertainty and doubt in many people. Once again, Shirat HaYam would be a reassurance to all of us that Hashem,  will see us to victory and the demise of all our enemies.

The news of the splitting of the Red Sea reverberated, for years and centuries after the event, in the annals of Egyptian and Ancient Near East history. For us it continues to reverberate on a daily basis, as we recite it on our daily prayers. In our time, the news of an innovation, or a historic find, or a miraculous operation by Israel that are heard almost every day, are again a sign of Hashem still ‘splitting the sea’ for His people Israel. Although we have not seen again the ‘splitting of the sea’, however, G-d’s miracles are with us on a daily basis.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Elie Abadie, M.D.


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