( Shmot 13:17–17:16)

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

1. [14:15] “…why are you crying to me…travel.”  The Talmud tells us that God desires the prayers of righteous people. If so, then why does God tell Moshe not to pray here? When are prayers desirable to God and when are they not appropriate?

2. [14:21] “…God sent a strong east wind the whole night…”  Many in our tradition have said that God prefers to act in the world through nature, rather than through miracles. Here also, God could have split the sea in one instant. Why did God prefer to do it in this more natural way?

3. [16:4] “…a day’s portion every day…” This pasuk seems to say that being able to live each day, without worrying about tomorrow, is a major principle in serving God. What is so important about this quality?

4. [16:32]  “…let the quantity of an omer be kept throughout the generations…”  What is so special about the “mun” that it should be saved for all generations?

5. [Haftara] The midrash says that the redemption from Egypt was because of the merits of the Israelite women. In the haftara, we hear about Devorah the prophet, and Yael’s killing of the enemy general, Sisera. If women are so important to us, why don’t they have more of a leadership role among the Israelites in the desert and afterwards?

Commentary

The fact that people are far from God and don’t get close to God is only because people don’t have presence of mind and don’t relax themselves. The main thing is to try to relax oneself and to ask, “What is the purpose of all the physical pleasures and all the physical pursuits of this world—whether they  have to do with the body or with matters outside the body, like being honoured by others.

If one thinks in this way, one will certainly return to God.

–R. Nachman of Breslov, 1772-1810, Ukraine.

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