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Parshat Beshalach

By: Herschel Karp (10th Grade)

In this week’s Parsha, Parshat Beshalach, the Jewish people find themselves in a tight and pressing situation. Merely seven days after their exodus from Mitzrayim, as the Jewish people approached the Dead Sea, the Egyptian army caught up to them.  

The Jews were caught in a conundrum, as they did not know what to do; each of the four camps had a different plan of action. 

According to the Midrash, one camp thought that they should throw themselves in the sea; another group believed it was best to return to Egypt; the third group decided it was best to wage war; the last camp began praying to Hashem. 

These four courses of action were rejected by Moshe who said in the name of Hashem:“Fear not; stand by and see the salvation of G‑d which He will show you today. For as you have seen Egypt this day, you shall not see them again, forever. G‑d shall fight for you, and you shall be silent.”

Through this answer, Hashem rejects each course of action. To the people who wanted to throw themselves into the sea, Hashem responds telling them to not fear and that the salvation will come. In regards to the Jews who wished to return to Egypt, Hashem says that they will never have to see Mitzrayim again. Hashem also rebuts the idea of fighting the Egyptians, saying that He will fight for Bnei Yisrael. Lastly, Hashem tells the people to stay silent, which goes against the Jews who said they should Daven. 

These four responses represent different types of people. There are people who give up when faced with a challenge, similar to the group who decided to throw themselves into the Dead Sea. Other people may lower their expectations when a conflict comes their way, which is seen by the camp that thinks they must return to Egypt. The camp that wants to fight Egypt is the type of person who will not let anything stop them. Finally, the group that believed the answer was to pray to Hashem believes that nothing is in their control, something many people believe. 

By Hashem rejecting all of these approaches, He is showing us what type of person we should be. Hashem acknowledges that, while all of these solutions have their merits, none of them are a perfect answer to combat the problems in our lives.  Hashem is telling Bnei Yisrael to move forward; when we encounter difficulties or barriers, we should not escape reality, submit to it, wage war against it, nor deal with it only on a spiritual level. Rather, we should just keep moving forward. Through this strategy, no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary, you will be able to achieve your goal.

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