(Exodus 13:17-17:16)

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

)Shabbat Shira)

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…”  God could have split the sea in one instant. Why did God want to do it in this more natural way?

 3. [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?

4. [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?

5. [17:16] “…God makes war with Amalek in every generation”.  Amalek came especially from far away to make war, and they attacked the weakest of the Israelites. What does Amalek represent to us that would make God “make war with Amalek in every generation”?

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 Rivkah Rochel bat Ya’akov haLevi and Chaya Kornberg, and Yechiel Eliezer ben Yitzchok Meir and Rochel Laya Kornberg

And to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava–Eli Zucker