Torah Tidbits

3 September 2014 / 8 Elul 5774
Issue 1030
Shabbat Parshat B'Shalach
January 24, 2013

Chizuk and Idud

CHIZUK and IDUD for Olim not yet Olim respectively

When the Jews were sent out from Egypt, the Almighty chose not to lead them via the shortest way passing through the land of the Philistines. Why did G-d opt for the longer more complicated route?
The Ibn Ezra, based on Sh’mot 13:17, suggests that the longer path was deliberately chosen so that they would not have to engage in battle with the Philistines. G-d feared that were they to meet up with military resistance they would despairingly flee the battlefield and head back to Egypt.
Rambam (Guide 3:32) expresses a similar sentiment writing that the long years in the desert were necessary in order to eradicate the deeply ingrained slave mentality which was pervasive amongst the people.
Rabbeinu Chananel, as quoted by R. B’chayei (13:21), focuses on a different theme entirely. In his opinion, the sojourn in the desert provided the people of Israel with an indispensable spiritual education. Their time in the desert, sustained by the daily miracles of manna, water and the protective cloud, inculcated in them the understanding that the world is run by miracles. These miracles are only rarely so clearly revealed; more often than not, they remain hidden from sight.
It is true, that Divine Providence extends over the whole world, and yet the Torah teaches us that this is especially true in the Holy Land, for: “It is a land that HaShem your G-d seeks constantly, the eyes of HaShem your G-dare upon it from the beginning of the year until its end” (D’varim 11:12).
Jews living in Eretz Yisrael today are privy to such miracles. Indeed, the miracles we have experienced over the years on the national scale are too extensive to enumerate.
In the wake of the Cast Lead Operation, unbelievable stories were circulated of soldiers warned off by a mysterious Hebrew speaking old lady as they were unsuspectingly about to enter booby-trapped homes. Many doubted the veracity of the reports, and yet when he was told of this, Rav Mordechai Eliyahu o.b.m, reportedly replied that the soldiers had undoubtedly met up with Rachel Imeinu!
Southern Israel recently experienced daily bombings from Gaza - are we to attribute the relatively minimal damage to mere chance?
This land is our Land, the Jewish People’s homeland, it is our natural habitat. No additional reason need be offered to justify the decision to make Aliyah. Nonetheless, once here, it does no harm to take comfort in the thought that we merit to reside in the locale where “the eyes of HaShem your G-d are upon it from the begin- ning of the year until its end.”

Rabbi Yerachmiel Roness, Ramat Shiloh, Beit Shemesh

TORAH THOUGHTS as contributed by Aloh Naaleh members for publication in the Orthodox Union’s ‘Torah Insights’, a weekly Torah publication on Parshat HaShavu’a

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