(Exodus 13:17-17:16)

(Haftara: Shoftim 4:4-5:31)

(Shabbat Shira)

  1. [14:22 ]   “And the Israelites went into the sea on the dry land…”   The Israelites were being chased by Pharoah and his army, and they were afraid. The pasuk seems to tell us that the Israelites went into the dry sea-bed without hesitation. The midrash, however, says that the Israelites did not trust the miracle, and only entered the sea-bed after great hesitation, and after one brave person jumped in. Which version of the story do you think is most likely to be true?
  1. [14:28] “The water returned and covered…all of Pharoah’s soldier’s…” The midrash tells us that when the Egyptian soldiers were drowning, the angels were singing joyfully. God told them to stop because “my creations are drowning”. In the book of Proverbs, it says “When your enemies fall, do not be joyful (24:17)”. However, it also says, “…when the evil ones lose, there is joy (11:10)”. When there is victory over evil, when is joy allowed and when is joy not allowed?
  1. [15:1] “Then Moshe and the Israelites sang this song to God…”   What is the quality of music that makes people want to sing at elevated times?
  1. [16:9] “No man should leave it over until the morning”. God is performing a big miracle by giving the Israelites the “mun”. It is also a great kindness. However, there are many rules attached: only an omer for every person; don’t leave it over until the morning, and so on. If God wants to do such a kindness, why are there so many restrictions?
  1. [16:20] If the mun was left over, it spoiled. What ethical or psychological principle is the Torah trying to teach us here?


[13:17] “God did not lead them by the way of the Philistines, even though it was close…”

God didn’t want the Israelites to have an easy time at the beginning, so that later they would be able to deal with difficult situations. The job of the Jewish people in the world would often be to confront difficulties and injustices, and correct them. So God wanted them to get used to this struggle from their beginnings as a free nation.

— based on Sfat Emet, R. Yehuda Arieh Leib Alter of Gur (1855-1905)

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer


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