The song of the sea

One of the most exciting moments in the history of the Israelites – after crossing the red sea-is the singing of what we call in Hebrew Shirat Hayam- The song of the sea.
It’s fascinating to read the commentaries of one verse that appears in the song, as written:

” יְהוָ֖ה אִ֣ישׁ מִלְחָמָ֑ה יְהוָ֖ה שְׁמֽוֹ׃”

“The Lord is a man of war: the Lord is his name.”(Exodus 15:3)

Rashi claimed that “He is a man of war, but His Name is the Lord (the God of Mercy): even at the time when He battles against and avenges Himself upon His enemies, He retains His attribute (that’s expressed by His name ה׳) showing pity to His creatures and feeding all the inhabitants of the world”

Seforno wrote that “even though He at times appears as the איש מלחמה, the “Man” of war who destroys His foes by invoking the attribute of Justice, He is yet predominantly Hashem, the God who practice mercy. It is this attribute of His which is responsible for the continued existence of all His creatures.”

Bechor Shor says that the meaning of war here is that God is a hero.

Shadal mentioned that the name of The Lord is combined with two letters of rejoicing and two letters of sadness meaning the God is the source of all the good and evil.

Which commentary of the fourth above describe your thoughts about God?

Share with us and have a lovely weekend,

Eli

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The first complaint of the people?

When my students in high school complain just to complain-or as we call it ventilation- there’s a saying in the class that says:
“YOY ARE LIKE THE SONS OF ISRAEL IN THE WILDERNESS”

However, in the wilderness, there were also other stories as we shall see in our next chapters. As for now let’s examine the first complaint of the people when they saw Pharaoh and his army after them, as written:

“וּפַרְעֹ֖ה הִקְרִ֑יב וַיִּשְׂאוּ֩ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֨ל אֶת־עֵינֵיהֶ֜ם וְהִנֵּ֥ה מִצְרַ֣יִם ׀ נֹסֵ֣עַ אַחֲרֵיהֶ֗ם וַיִּֽירְאוּ֙ מְאֹ֔ד וַיִּצְעֲק֥וּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל אֶל־יְהוָֽה׃וַיֹּאמְרוּ֮ אֶל־מֹשֶׁה֒ הַֽמִבְּלִ֤י אֵין־קְבָרִים֙ בְּמִצְרַ֔יִם לְקַחְתָּ֖נוּ לָמ֣וּת בַּמִּדְבָּ֑ר מַה־זֹּאת֙ עָשִׂ֣יתָ לָּ֔נוּ לְהוֹצִיאָ֖נוּ מִמִּצְרָֽיִם׃ הֲלֹא־זֶ֣ה הַדָּבָ֗ר אֲשֶׁר֩ דִּבַּ֨רְנוּ אֵלֶ֤יךָ בְמִצְרַ֙יִם֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר חֲדַ֥ל מִמֶּ֖נּוּ וְנַֽעַבְדָ֣ה אֶת־מִצְרָ֑יִם כִּ֣י ט֥וֹב לָ֙נוּ֙ עֲבֹ֣ד אֶת־מִצְרַ֔יִם מִמֻּתֵ֖נוּ בַּמִּדְבָּֽר׃”

“And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord. And they said unto Moses because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? Wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.”(Exodus 14:11-12)

Malbim (1809-1879) was the only commentary that I have read that says it’s not a complaint. The people said that they could have rebelled against Pharaoh in Egypt as slaves and it is better for them to have done it in Egypt than to do it as “so-called free people” in the desert.

Do you agree with him or you think it’s a complaint?

Have a blessed weekend, with no complains,

Eli

The watch of God

If I have been asking the watch of God, why didn’t the Israelites enter immediately into the Promised Land it’s written:

“וַיְהִ֗י בְּשַׁלַּ֣ח פַּרְעֹה֮ אֶת־הָעָם֒ וְלֹא־נָחָ֣ם אֱלֹהִ֗ים דֶּ֚רֶךְ אֶ֣רֶץ פְּלִשְׁתִּ֔ים כִּ֥י קָר֖וֹב ה֑וּא כִּ֣י ׀ אָמַ֣ר אֱלֹהִ֗ים פֶּֽן־יִנָּחֵ֥ם הָעָ֛ם בִּרְאֹתָ֥ם מִלְחָמָ֖ה וְשָׁ֥בוּ מִצְרָֽיְמָה׃וַיַּסֵּ֨ב אֱלֹהִ֧ים ׀ אֶת־הָעָ֛ם דֶּ֥רֶךְ הַמִּדְבָּ֖ר יַם־ס֑וּף וַחֲמֻשִׁ֛ים עָל֥וּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מֵאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרָֽיִם׃”

“And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt: but God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.”(Exodus 13:17-18)

The Midrash told many stories about Pharaoh that sent the people as birds or as flowers or as fruitful trees and more that were changed and upgraded due to the exile of Egypt.

God could have brought to the land of Israel in a few days, 11 days exactly as written in Deuteronomy. But the watch of God thought about a journey that would be valuable to us until today. The watch of God thought that if you go out from slavery to wars in the Promised Land would bring the Israelites back to Egypt.

A question to you, dear readers. If you could choose where to be- in the wilderness for 40 years or in the Land of Canaan after 40 years- what would you choose?
Write us here!

Have a beautiful day,
Eli

Photo by Pat Taylor on Unsplash

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The second meaning of Passover

We all as kids have learned that the meaning of Passover, Pesach, is to skip. The angel of God skipped the Houses of the Israelites, as written:

“וְעָבַרְתִּ֣י בְאֶֽרֶץ־מִצְרַיִם֮ בַּלַּ֣יְלָה הַזֶּה֒ וְהִכֵּיתִ֤י כָל־בְּכוֹר֙ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרַ֔יִם מֵאָדָ֖ם וְעַד־בְּהֵמָ֑ה וּבְכָל־אֱלֹהֵ֥י מִצְרַ֛יִם אֶֽעֱשֶׂ֥ה שְׁפָטִ֖ים אֲנִ֥י יְהוָֽה׃וְהָיָה֩ הַדָּ֨ם לָכֶ֜ם לְאֹ֗ת עַ֤ל הַבָּתִּים֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אַתֶּ֣ם שָׁ֔ם וְרָאִ֙יתִי֙ אֶת־הַדָּ֔ם וּפָסַחְתִּ֖י עֲלֵכֶ֑ם וְלֹֽא־יִֽהְיֶ֨ה בָכֶ֥ם נֶ֙גֶף֙ לְמַשְׁחִ֔ית בְּהַכֹּתִ֖י בְּאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרָֽיִם׃”

” For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you when I smite the land of Egypt.”
(Exodus 12:12-13).

However, the meaning of Pesach has been no just to skip/Passover. When you read Isaiah 31:5 there’s another meaning as written:

“כְּצִפֳּרִ֣ים עָפ֔וֹת כֵּ֗ן יָגֵ֛ן יְהוָ֥ה צְבָא֖וֹת עַל־יְרֽוּשָׁלִָ֑ם גָּנ֥וֹן וְהִצִּ֖יל פָּסֹ֥חַ וְהִמְלִֽיט׃”

“As birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it, and passing over he will preserve it.”

The meaning of Pesach here is to defend or protect. In the language of Rashi, it’s called to have mercy. There’s even a commentary that is brought by Malbim that claimed that if an Egyptian was standing in the house of the Israelites was protected and saved!

Have a lovely day, Eli

When the Israelites went out from Egypt?

One of the interesting questions that I have learned in my studies in the Hebrew University was the question above. If we read Exodus 11:4 the answer is clear-

“וַיֹּ֣אמֶר מֹשֶׁ֔ה כֹּ֖ה אָמַ֣ר יְהוָ֑ה כַּחֲצֹ֣ת הַלַּ֔יְלָה אֲנִ֥י יוֹצֵ֖א בְּת֥וֹךְ מִצְרָֽיִם׃”

“And Moses said, thus saith the Lord, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt”
However, what can we do with verses as Numbers 33:3, as written?

“וַיִּסְע֤וּ מֵֽרַעְמְסֵס֙ בַּחֹ֣דֶשׁ הָֽרִאשׁ֔וֹן בַּחֲמִשָּׁ֥ה עָשָׂ֛ר י֖וֹם לַחֹ֣דֶשׁ
הָרִאשׁ֑וֹן מִֽמָּחֳרַ֣ת הַפֶּ֗סַח יָצְא֤וּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ בְּיָ֣ד רָמָ֔ה לְעֵינֵ֖י כָּל־מִצְרָֽיִם׃”

“And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the Passover the children of Israel went out with a high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians.”

Rashi and Eben Ezra claimed that Pharaoh permitted at night, but they went out in the morning, as described in Numbers. Maybe, another option is to claim that the ninth plague- DARKNESS- didn’t end yet until the tenth one started…

What do you say? What is a better option- to escape at night or to go out proudly on the day?

Have a peaceful week, Eli

Photo by Adam Bichler on Unsplash

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Did God abuse the Egyptians?

One of the most challenging verses that I have read in the Bible appears in Exodus 10:1-2, as written:

“וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוָה֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה בֹּ֖א אֶל־פַּרְעֹ֑ה כִּֽי־אֲנִ֞י הִכְבַּ֤דְתִּי אֶת־לִבּוֹ֙ וְאֶת־לֵ֣ב עֲבָדָ֔יו לְמַ֗עַן שִׁתִ֛י אֹתֹתַ֥י אֵ֖לֶּה בְּקִרְבּֽוֹ׃ וּלְמַ֡עַן תְּסַפֵּר֩ בְּאָזְנֵ֨י בִנְךָ֜ וּבֶן־בִּנְךָ֗ אֵ֣ת אֲשֶׁ֤ר הִתְעַלַּ֙לְתִּי֙ בְּמִצְרַ֔יִם וְאֶת־אֹתֹתַ֖י אֲשֶׁר־שַׂ֣מְתִּי בָ֑ם וִֽידַעְתֶּ֖ם כִּי־אֲנִ֥י יְהוָֽה׃”

“And the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him: And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son’s son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the Lord.”

God wanted the Israelites to know that he is The Lord, and this is understandable- Moses just told the people about their old-new God.
However, how can we deal with that word “הִתְעַלַּ֙לְתִּי” in verse 2 that literally means I abused.

The Midrash took the root “‘ayin- lamed –lamed” and created the idea of plot/story –’alilah in Hebrew. Rashi claimed that the meaning is the God Played with the Egyptians. Eben Ezra spoke about the word in the meaning of revenge. Hizkuni mentioned that God mocked and laughed with the Egyptians.

Shadal mentioned the idea of the damage and despise in the Egyptians and he brought all the examples of abuse in the Bible (See for example Numbers 22:29, Judges 19:25).

What do you think about the question above after reading all of these options?

Shabbat Shalom, Eli

The chance of Pharaoh

People like to get chances. Sometimes I wish that the song of Lennon “Give peace a chance” would happen in our world. Until then, let’s examine the chance that Pharaoh got in Exodus 9.
After three more plagues in this chapter- the last one was the hail (Barad) – Pharaoh said:

” וַיִּשְׁלַ֣ח פַּרְעֹ֗ה וַיִּקְרָא֙ לְמֹשֶׁ֣ה וּֽלְאַהֲרֹ֔ן וַיֹּ֥אמֶר אֲלֵהֶ֖ם חָטָ֣אתִי הַפָּ֑עַם יְהוָה֙ הַצַּדִּ֔יק וַאֲנִ֥י וְעַמִּ֖י הָרְשָׁעִֽים׃ הַעְתִּ֙ירוּ֙ אֶל־יְהוָ֔ה וְרַ֕ב מִֽהְיֹ֛ת קֹלֹ֥ת אֱלֹהִ֖ים וּבָרָ֑ד וַאֲשַׁלְּחָ֣ה אֶתְכֶ֔ם וְלֹ֥א תֹסִפ֖וּן לַעֲמֹֽד׃”

“And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, I have sinned this time: the Lord is righteous, and I and my people are wicked Intreat the Lord (for it is enough) that there be no more mighty thundering and hail, and I will let you go, and ye shall stay no longer.”(Exodus 9:27-28)

If I could choose a point that the Israelites would exile from Egypt- this is the time- seven Plagues were also ENOUGH. However, Pharaoh didn’t use his chance and his heart one more time became HEAVY…

Have a blessed day, Eli

Photo by Natasha Vasiljeva on Unsplash

What is Arov?

The fourth plague Arov is not found in the word of Psalms 78. Only seven are described and AROV is not one of them. Does this plague occur or this is another tradition and what is Arov actually?

Let’s examine the verses in Exodus 8, as written:
” וַיֹּ֨אמֶר יְהוָ֜ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֗ה הַשְׁכֵּ֤ם בַּבֹּ֙קֶר֙ וְהִתְיַצֵּב֙ לִפְנֵ֣י פַרְעֹ֔ה הִנֵּ֖ה יוֹצֵ֣א הַמָּ֑יְמָה וְאָמַרְתָּ֣ אֵלָ֗יו כֹּ֚ה אָמַ֣ר יְהוָ֔ה שַׁלַּ֥ח עַמִּ֖י וְיַֽעַבְדֻֽנִי׃ כִּ֣י אִם־אֵינְךָ֮ מְשַׁלֵּ֣חַ אֶת־עַמִּי֒ הִנְנִי֩ מַשְׁלִ֨יחַ בְּךָ֜ וּבַעֲבָדֶ֧יךָ וּֽבְעַמְּךָ֛ וּבְבָתֶּ֖יךָ אֶת־הֶעָרֹ֑ב וּמָ֨לְא֜וּ בָּתֵּ֤י מִצְרַ֙יִם֙ אֶת־הֶ֣עָרֹ֔ב וְגַ֥ם הָאֲדָמָ֖ה אֲשֶׁר־הֵ֥ם עָלֶֽיהָ׃ וְהִפְלֵיתִי֩ בַיּ֨וֹם הַה֜וּא אֶת־אֶ֣רֶץ גֹּ֗שֶׁן אֲשֶׁ֤ר עַמִּי֙ עֹמֵ֣ד עָלֶ֔יהָ לְבִלְתִּ֥י הֱיֽוֹת־שָׁ֖ם עָרֹ֑ב לְמַ֣עַן תֵּדַ֔ע כִּ֛י אֲנִ֥י יְהוָ֖ה בְּקֶ֥רֶב הָאָֽרֶץ׃”

“And the LORD said unto Moses: ‘Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; lo, he cometh forth to the water; and say unto him: Thus saith the LORD: Let My people go, that they may serve Me. Else, if thou wilt not let My people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses; and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are. And I will set apart in that day the land of Goshen, in which My people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end that thou mayest know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth” (Exodus 8:16-18 JPS translation)

Was it swarms of flies or mixture of scorpions and snakes (Rashi) or animals as lions, tigers, wolves, and bears (Eben Ezra) with pigs (Bechor Shor) or only different kind of wolves (Rashbam)?

The outcome is one –all the land and earth was destroyed because of the Arov.

Have a beautiful day, Eli

Who is the one with the staff?

Exodus 7 is an excellent chapter to learn the difference between a traditional approach to the text and a modern one- or its other name- the source theory.
When you read this chapter you might ask who was the one created the blood plague and where it was formed- only in the Nile or in all the rivers of Egypt, as written:

“כֹּ֚ה אָמַ֣ר יְהוָ֔ה בְּזֹ֣את תֵּדַ֔ע כִּ֖י אֲנִ֣י יְהוָ֑ה הִנֵּ֨ה אָנֹכִ֜י מַכֶּ֣ה ׀ בַּמַּטֶּ֣ה אֲשֶׁר־בְּיָדִ֗י עַל־הַמַּ֛יִם אֲשֶׁ֥ר בַּיְאֹ֖ר וְנֶהֶפְכ֥וּ לְדָֽם׃וְהַדָּגָ֧ה אֲשֶׁר־בַּיְאֹ֛ר תָּמ֖וּת וּבָאַ֣שׁ הַיְאֹ֑ר וְנִלְא֣וּ מִצְרַ֔יִם לִשְׁתּ֥וֹת מַ֖יִם מִן־הַיְאֹֽר׃ (ס)וַיֹּ֨אמֶר יְהוָ֜ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֗ה אֱמֹ֣ר אֶֽל־אַהֲרֹ֡ן קַ֣ח מַטְּךָ֣ וּנְטֵֽה־יָדְךָ֩ עַל־מֵימֵ֨י מִצְרַ֜יִם עַֽל־נַהֲרֹתָ֣ם ׀ עַל־יְאֹרֵיהֶ֣ם וְעַל־אַגְמֵיהֶ֗ם וְעַ֛ל כָּל־מִקְוֵ֥ה מֵימֵיהֶ֖ם וְיִֽהְיוּ־דָ֑ם וְהָ֤יָה דָם֙ בְּכָל־אֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרַ֔יִם וּבָעֵצִ֖ים וּבָאֲבָנִֽים׃ וַיַּֽעֲשׂוּ־כֵן֩ מֹשֶׁ֨ה וְאַהֲרֹ֜ן כַּאֲשֶׁ֣ר ׀ צִוָּ֣ה יְהוָ֗ה וַיָּ֤רֶם בַּמַּטֶּה֙ וַיַּ֤ךְ אֶת־הַמַּ֙יִם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בַּיְאֹ֔ר לְעֵינֵ֣י פַרְעֹ֔ה וּלְעֵינֵ֖י עֲבָדָ֑יו וַיֵּהָֽפְכ֛וּ כָּל־הַמַּ֥יִם אֲשֶׁר־בַּיְאֹ֖ר לְדָֽם׃”

“Thus saith the Lord, in this thou shalt know that I am the Lord: behold, I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood.And the fish that is in the river shall die, and the river shall stink; and the Egyptians shall lothe to drink of the water of the river.And the Lord spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood; and that there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stone. And Moses and Aaron did so, as the Lord commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.”(Exodus 7:17-20).

A traditional approach would try to claim that the commandment to Moses moved to Aaron and he created a plague that started in the Nile and spread all around Egypt. Actually, if Moses was protected and saved by the Nile, he couldn’t hear it (Rashi, Midrash).
The source Theory would claim for two stories- one that Moses used his staff only for the Nile, the second is when Aaron used his staff to harm all the rivers of Egypt.

What is your approach?
Eli

Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash

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Why can’t you listen?

Every person on this planet wants to be heard, want and need attention, want to be loved unless you have decided to live alone in a cave.

In our world, we can call it the like-meter. According to the number of likes, you feel good or not. However, there’s something that people sometimes forget.

Not always people can listen to you.
Seldom they would be able really to listen since they are also wanting to be seen and let’s remember that they try to survive in this crazy world.

I think that when you read Exodus 6:9 the situation that the people of Israel had been the same as written:

״וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר מֹשֶׁ֛ה כֵּ֖ן אֶל־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וְלֹ֤א שָֽׁמְעוּ֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה מִקֹּ֣צֶר ר֔וּחַ וּמֵעֲבֹדָ֖ה קָשָֽׁה׃ ״

“And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel: but they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage“

The Israelites couldn’t listen to Moses, even though there’s a new God with a new name that now revealed to all- The Lord. They were busy and worked hard and were impatient.
I don’t think that they worshiped other gods and for that reason, they couldn’t listen.

This is why the Torah is so important and relevant- it teaches you always new ideas and thoughts. This is the true like in the like-Meter!

Have a beautiful week,
Eli

Photo by Trung Thanh on Unsplash

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