THOUGHT FOR PARSHAT BESHALACH 5779
BY RABBI CHAIM FACHLER
This week's Parsha, Beshalach, describes in detail the transition of our people from slaves to a sovereign nation.
We leave Egypt, they chase us, we jump into the sea, they follow, we survive through the dividing of the waters, they drown, we sing thanks, we get fed with the Manna, HaShem gives us a few more Mitzvot, we survive our first military battle by relying on HaShem's divine mercy - as well as numerous other open miracles.
Our daily prayers are full of references to the Exodus, in line with the Sefer HaChinuch’s understanding pertaining to Pesach – namely, to remember the miracles we merited in leaving Egypt.
Pride of place of these references is taken of course by the “Shira”, the beautiful song sang first by Moshe and the people, followed by Moshe’s big sister Miriam. Why would this be?
It’s because saying thank you is so important.
The Medrash faults everyone prior to this episode - Adam, Noach, Avraham, Yitzchak, Yakov, Yosef and his brothers – for failing to sing HaShem’s praise when it was appropriate to do so.
Making mention of all the wondrous miracles on a daily basis is hugely important, primarily to remind us that HaShem is indeed our 24/7 Protector. Without Him, we are helpless and pretty useless. And without our daily prayers, it is so easy to get through the day, week and even month, without really appreciating the magnitude of HaShem’s influence in our every action.
By inserting the whole Shira into our daily service, Chazal were sending us an even bigger message. Acknowledging and appreciating are essential. Show your appreciation. Say “Thank You.” Sing your benefactor’s praises. This is not always easy, and for some people, it’s an almost impossible task.
Moshe recognised this. And although he never doubted that HaShem would indeed fulfil His promise of the Exodus, Moshe equally felt that Bnei Yisrael, in this historic transition from slavery to freedom, from subservience to independence, needed to learn this one lesson. Say thank you. And mean it. In fact – sing it!