Torah Teaser – Parshat B’Shalach Questions & Answers – February 10 2117-5777

You Won’t Always Take The Short Road Home “V’LoNacham Elokim Derech Eretz Pilishtim Ki Karov Hu; Hashem did not want to take Bnei Yisrael to Eretz Yisrael through the land of the Pilishtim since it was very close.” (Bishalach 13:17) The Gilyon Peninim brings from the Sfas Emes that since Ma’aseh Avos Siman LaBanim, so, too, was the Geulas Mitzrayim a precendent for all future redemptions of Klal Yisrael. Because the future redemptions would not be so easy, and Bnei Yisrael will take a roundabout way, contrary to what seems to be the best way to get there; geulas Mitzrayim also required the Bnei Yisrael to go on the road less traveled and take the long way home. The road to geula goes through scorching heat, barren land, and many tests. To take them the short way was not possible Ki Karov Hu, it was too routine, too fast, too easy. From Galus, that isn’t the right way home.
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Har HaMoriah Is Uprooted At Krias Yam Suf The Mechilta says that at Krias Yam Suf, Har HaMoriah was uprooted from its place. What does this mean? Rav Meir Shapiro explains that the Yam Suf did not split until Nachshon jumped in to the raging rapids first, and then all of Bnei Yisrael followed behind him, as the Pasuk says in Tehilim, “Haysa Yehuda LiKodsho Yisrael Mamshilosav.” Only after Yisrael jumped into the Yam, did they rule over it, and it split for them. This was Mesiras Nefesh by an entire nation. Har HaMoriah was also a site of great Mesiras Nefesh for Klal Yisrael as the Avos were Moser Nefesh on the famed mountain. However, the Mesiras Nefesh on Har HaMoriah was only by individuals, whereas the Yam Suf bore witness to Mesiras Nefesh of the masses. “Therefore,” says the Mechilta, “when Bnei Yisrael jumped into the Yam, Har HaMoriah was uprooted and supplanted by the Yam Suf as the greatest place of Mesiras Nefesh of Klal Yisrael.”
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The Womens’ Holy Shira “Vata’an Lahem Miriam Shiru Lashem.” (Bishalach 15:21) Just like Moshe sang Shira for the men, so, too, Miriam sang for the women. However, the word Vata’an means to answer, which connotes talking and not singing. Furthermore, Lahem is a masculine term and not addressed towards women. The MiShulchan Gavoa brings from Rav Chaim Soloveitchik that Shira to Hashem has a din of Davar SheB’Kdusha that can only be said with ten men. Women are not included in a minyan in this respect. Therefore, the women could not say their own shira. They were only able to say as a continuation of the minyan of men. Therefore, it says Vata’an, they answered on the men. This also explains why it says Lahem, since they answered to the men. The Vilna Gaon answers that the women could not say Shira because Kol B’Isha Erva and it was not Tzanua for them to sing. Miriam answered to the men, “You sing Shira while the women will play the Tupim”.
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There Are Two Kinds Of Doctors… “Ki Ani Hashem Rofecha.” (Bishalach 15:26) Hashem promises that if we keep the Torah He will not bring upon us any of the illnesses that He brought upon Mitzrayim, because He is our doctor. Doctor? Why do we need a doctor if Hashem will not bring upon us any illness? The Chasam Sofer answers that there are two kinds of doctors. One doctor takes a fee for each visit. He does not care about preventive measures only about curing because that is where he makes his money. Another doctor is a family doctor where you pay one price for the whole family for the year. He wants you and your family to stay healthy, since he only loses from each office visit. Hashem is our Rofei Chinam, a doctor that doesn’t charge. “Because of that,” Hashem says, “I will make sure that you never get sick.” This can also answer why the pasuk in Mishpatim (21:19), “V’Rapoh Yirapei,” which teaches us that a person may visit a human doctor, has the double Lashon, Rapoh Yirapei”. When you visit Hashem he wants to cure you permanently. Whereas a human doctor wants you to come back again and again and…. Similarly, the Gilyon Pninim brings that the Satmar Rov explained that the Torah uses the double lashon, Rapoh Yirapei, because when a doctor heals one part of your body, he often does damage to another part. This cycle keeps you coming back to his offices on a regular basis.
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Why Bread Needs To Be Fresh
Rav Shimshon Pincus points out an interesting phenomenon. Good bread is fresh bread. Once it gets old, even by a day, it becomes stale. Not so with cake or cookies. Why is that? Bread is the main food that nourishes life. Cake and cookies are not. When it comes to life, it is refreshed by Hashem every moment of every day. The life given today must be put to use today. If we leave it over, so to say, and do not utilize it, we cannot use it tomorrow. Tomorrow is a new day, with its own gift of life granted from Hashem. Yesterday’s unused life is wasted and gone forever. Rav Avigdor Miller once said that killing time is like murder. Life is made up of minutes, hours, and days. Whatever time you kill is like killing a small part of life. It doesn’t make a difference if it is at the end or in the middle.

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