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B’shalach Summaries

B’shalach 5779-2019

“The שִׁירָה –Shira: The Source of All Song”
(Revised and updated from B’shalach 5760-2000)

According to Jewish tradition, all song emanates from the purity and devotion of the song that the People of Israel sang over three thousand years ago at the crossing of the Red Sea.

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B’shalach 5778-2018

“The Exalted Spirituality of Miriam the Prophetess”

The sister of Moses rose to great spiritual heights at the Red Sea. Her impact on the women seems to have been even greater than Moses’ impact on the men.

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B’shalach 5777-2017

“Miriam Leads the Women in Song”

In this week’s parasha, Miriam leads the women in song. It underscores the specialness of Miriam and the women of her generation, but also raises a host of issues regarding women and public singing.

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B’shalach 5776-2016

“The Small ‘Stuff’ is not Always Small”

Even the most seemingly “insignificant” Torah verses teach profound lessons.

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B’shalach 5775-2015

“One Heart, as One Man”

Israel’s enemies have mastered the art of enmity. The most effective response to this enmity must be the unity of the People of Israel.

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B’shalach 5774-2014

“Analysis of the ‘Shira,’ the Song of Moses Crossing the Sea”

What is the nature of the structure of the “Shira,” the song that Moses and the People of Israel sing as they cross the sea?

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B’shalach 5773-2013

Why Israel Lost Faith at the Red Sea

A small verse, describing the Israelites’ panic at seeing the approaching Egyptian troops, reveals many significant lessons that help explain why Israel lost faith at the Red Sea.

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B’shalach 5772-2012

“Pharaoh’s Ultimate Fate”

In Exodus 15, after the splitting of the sea, Moses leads the People of Israel in triumphant song, and Miriam leads the women of Israel in a song of victory. That is the last that we hear of Pharaoh, or is it?

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B’shalach 5771-2011

“Avoiding the Philistines”

Despite G-d’s intentions to bring the people to the Promised Land, G-d does not lead the Israelites on a direct route to Canaan. The commentators question: What was the Al-mighty’s strategy in taking a roundabout route?

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B’shalach 5770-2010

Va’chamushim – Armed or Otherwise”

When the enslaved Israelites finally leave Egypt, Scripture tells us that they leave “Chamushim,” generally translated as armed. The commentators, however, offer many interpretations for the word Chamushim. Even though they are quite different from one another, each interpretation has much validity.

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B’shalach 5769-2009

“Pharaoh Sends the People of Israel out of Egypt”

The opening verse of parashat B’shalach is rather challenging. The Hebrew word “Vy’he” is seen as an indication of sadness. Why sadness at such a triumphal moment? Also, the verse asserts that Pharaoh, not G-d, sent the Children of Israel out of Egypt. Can this be true?

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B’shalach 5768-2008

“Finding Meaning in the ‘Lost Verses'”

In the intensity of Scripture’s description of the splitting of the Red Sea, a number of important verses are overshadowed and neglected. Doing what is just in G-d’s eyes is such a verse. Its multiple messages are critical to living a good and just life. We dare not let them fall by the wayside.

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B’shalach 5767-2007

“I Have Been Waiting For Them”

The Midrash says that G-d had helped people before but none had sung words of praise until the People of Israel uttered their song at the sea. When G-d heard their song He responded: “I have been waiting for them.” G-d is still waiting…for us.

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B’shalach 5766-2006

“The Bones of Joseph ”

With the more than 2 1/2 million people waiting to be rescued, and thousands of logistical details to review, Moses diverts his attention from the people, to personally attend to the removal and transport of the bones of Joseph from Egypt to Canaan. From this act of unconditional love performed by Moses our leader, our commentators derive many important lessons regarding effective leadership and establishing proper priorities in life.

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B’shalach 5765-2005

“Vah’chah’moo’shim“-A Call to Arms”

In parashat B’shalach the Torah tells us that the Israelites went out of Egypt, “chah’moo’shim,” usually translated as “armed.” Chah’moo’shim however is a word that has many interpretations and many deep and subtle meanings that teach us that much more than physical/military defense is needed to protect the Jewish people.

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B’shalach 5764-2004

“The Malbim Teaches the Lessons of the Manna”

From the life of the Malbim, the great 19th century Torah commentator, as well as from his brilliant and complicated explication of the “manna” that the Jewish people were given to eat in the wilderness, we find reminders of G-d’s continuous support. Sustenance is always sent from the Al-mighty, whether it overtly rains from heaven, or comes in a more subtle manner.

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B’shalach 5763-2003

“Bringing G-d Home”

The Song of Moses crossing the Red Sea contains the well known verse: “This is my G-d and I will praise Him, G-d of my fathers and I will exalt him.” If G-d is only the G-d of our fathers, the only thing one can do is put Him up on a pedestal and exalt Him. However, if we make G-d our G-d, we can bring Him home! We bring G-d home by building a personal relationship with G-d through study and reflection.

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B’shalach 5762-2002

“G-d: The Source of Sweetness”

Immediately after the great miracle of the parting of the seas, the Jews arrived at a place called Marah, where the water had turned bitter. G-d tells Moses to throw a bitter branch into the water and miraculously the waters become sweet. Our commentators suggest that the Torah wishes to convey the message to humankind that ultimately there is really no such thing as “bitter or sweet.” Whatever we experience is merely a reflection of G-d’s will.

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B’shalach 5761-2001

“Where is Nachshon, the Son of Aminadav, When We Need Him?”

Nachson, the son of Aminadav, the prince of the tribe of Judah, was the first of the Israelites to enter the water and proceed to walk until the water reached his neck. It was only at that point that the sea split. If we are to change the “course of nature,” we need to have the profound faith of Nachshon.

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B’shalach 5760-2000

“The Shira: Source of all Song”

According to Jewish tradition, all song emanates from the purity and devotion of the song that the people of Israel sang over three thousand years ago at the crossing of the Red Sea.

Link to full version