(Exodus 13:17-17:16)

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

(Tu B’shvat)

  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. [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. [15:1] “I will sing to God, because He is exalted…” The Kabbalistic thinkers tell us that God does not really need our praises. So why do we praise God so often in our prayers and in our lives?
  1. [17:3] “Why have you brought us out of Egypt—to kill us and our children and our cattle of thirst?”  Water is more necessary for life than food. God fed the Israelites with the man—the miraculous food from heaven. Why didn’t God also give the people water in abundance?
  1. [Tu B’Shvat] When we make blessings before eating fruit and other foods, we make the blessing which is specific to that family of food. There is one blessing, however, that could apply to every food—”Blessed are You..that everything exists through His word. If one blessing is acceptable for every food, why do we try so hard to make the specific blessing?

Commentary

The love for people must break out from the source of compassion. It must not come to us as a prescribed law, because then it would lose its most luminous quality. It must come as a spontaneous, powerful movement from the deepest depths of the person.

–R. Avraham Y. H. Kuk, 1865-1935, Lithuania and Israel.

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava—Eli Zucker

And 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