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כי מחה אמחה את זכר עמלק

I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek. (17:14)

As Horav S. R. Hirsch, zl, observes from the Torah’s use of zeicher, remembrance (of Amalek), it is not Amalek who is so pernicious for the future of mankind, but his remembrance. The glorifying of Amalek’s memory, exalting in his achievements, presents an imminent danger to the moral mindset of G-d-fearing people. Violence, force, living by the sword, dominating the weak, murder and plunder at will, just to show one’s power and prowess, is anathema to the moral rectitude of humanity. Glorifying the deeds of murderers and terrorists, venerating their memory, catalyzes the weak-minded to emulate them. Thus, their memory…

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הנני ממטיר לכם לחם מן השמים

Behold! I shall rain down for you food from Heaven. (16:4)

The underlying motif of being sustained by the daily portion of manna that descended from Heaven is faith and trust in the Almighty. I think, in the end, everyone believes in Hashem and even places his trust in Him. The question is when. Do we wait until every last option for salvation has been exhausted before we finally accede to the verity that everything comes from Hashem? The daily gift of manna – survival from Heaven – was a lesson in faith. Hashem provides for those who believe in Him. A person of little faith worries about what tomorrow will…

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כי אני ה' רפאך

For I am Hashem Your healer. (15:26)

We are enjoined to seek medical help when circumstances arise that dictate such action. The Torah, likewise, commands the physician to heal those who are in need of a refuah. Nonetheless, one should never lose sight of the fact that the true and only effective Healer is Hashem. The physician and all who participate in the patient’s care are merely agents of Hashem who have been Heavenly sent to address his physical concerns by employing conventional therapeutic means. Hashem determines the success of the physician. Horav Mordechai, zl, m’Neshchiz, was known for the efficacy of his blessings. The ill and…

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ותען להם מרים שירו לד' כי גאה גאה סוס ורכבו רמה בים

Miriam (answered) spoke up to them, “Sing to Hashem for He is exalted above the arrogant, having hurled the horse with its rider into the sea.” (15:21)

Va’taan la’hem Miriam, “Miriam answered them.” Every answer is preempted by a question. What question was asked that required Miriam HaNeviah’s response? Furthermore, if Miriam was speaking to the women, it should have said la’hen, in the female form – not la’hem, which is masculine. Last, Miriam’s choice of miracles to extol Him begs elucidation. Sus v’rochvo ramah, ba’yam, “The horse and rider were hurled into the sea.” So many other miracles occurred. Why underscore this one? Horav Y. Chashin explains that Miriam was, indeed, responding to a fundamental question. Ostensibly, the purpose of yetzias Mitzrayim, the Egyptian exodus, was…

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ואתה הרם את מטך ונטה את ידך על הים ובקעהו

And you – lift up your staff and stretch out your arm over the water and split it. (14:16)

I have heard a legend. (I use the word legend, because the veracity of this story has been questioned, as we have no definitive sources that support it.) The story is told that the curators of a Russian museum had obtained a precious stone/mineral that had unique, remarkable powers. The Russian scientists could not fathom the secret of this stone. They did not even know what kind of stone it was. They decided that since German scientists were more advanced technologically, they would send them the stone. The German scientists were, likewise, stupefied by this stone. Among the group of…

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ויסעו מאילם ויבאו כל עדת בני ישראל אל מדבר סין... בחמשה עשר יום לחדש השני לצאתם מארץ מצרים... וילנו כל עדת בני ישראל על משה ועל אהרן

As they journeyed from Eilim, and they came, the whole congregation of Bnei Yisrael, unto the wilderness of Sin… on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departure from the land of Egypt. Then the whole congregation of Bnei Yisrael murmured against Moshe and Aharon in the wilderness. (16:1,2)

Kol adas Bnei Yisrael, the whole congregation of Bnei Yisrael, explains Horav S. R. Hirsch, zl, refers to the Jewish community in its entirety, in its highest meaning as a community united by its common mission. It is a community which is designated to be the “congregation” of Hashem. Thus, by using such vernacular to describe the Jewish People, the Torah implies from the get-go that the events to be recorded impact the interest of the general mission of the whole Klal Yisrael to the highest degree. It is for this reason that the Torah makes a point of underscoring…

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התיצבו וראו את ישועת ד'

Stand fast and see the salvation of Hashem. (14:13)

Ibn Ezra writes: “You shall not wage war. You will see the salvation that Hashem will make for you.” How is it possible for a nation of 600,000 men (over the age of twenty-years old) to just stand there and not fight their aggressors? The answer is that these people knew the Egyptians as their masters who lorded over them. It was impossible for the Jews who knew nothing about warfare to battle their Egyptian masters. Amalek attacked the Jews, and, without Moshe Rabbeinu’s prayers, he would have dealt them a weakening blow. Likewise, these Jewish expatriated slaves could not…

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ויצעקו בני ישראל אל ד'

Bnei Yisrael cried out to Hashem. (14:10)

The Midrash Tanchuma (9) teaches that when Klal Yisrael saw that their situation was dire, they grasped the umnos, “profession,” of their ancestors/Patriarchs and reached out to Hashem through the vehicle of prayer. The efficacy of prayer cannot be overstated. It should not be our last – but rather, our first – resort. A Jew speaks to Hashem, his Father in Heaven, through the medium of prayer. Chazal are teaching us, however, that the Jewish People turned to Hashem in prayer just because the situation was bleak. How is this to be compared to the prayers of our Patriarchs, who…

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ויהפך לבב פרעה ועבדיו אל העם

And the heart of Pharaoh and his servants became transformed regarding the people. (14:5)

What possessed Pharaoh to pursue the Jewish People, whom he had just (forced by Hashem) released from bondage? What was running through his mind when he made such an about-face? He had just suffered ten devastating plagues, with the death of the firstborn Egyptians striking very close to home. His people were demoralized, his country in ruin; yet, he was chasing the Jews. Did he require more proof of Hashem’s power? He arrived with his soldiers at the banks of the Red Sea and saw that the sea had miraculously split, and the Jews were crossing through on dry land….

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למשמרת לדרתיכם למען יראו את הלחם אשר האכלתי אתכם במדבר

It shall be a keepsake for your generations, so that they will see the food with which I fed you in the wilderness. (16:32)

Throughout the entirety of the human experience on this earth, phenomenon is remotely comparable to the manna. Hashem fed an entire nation for forty years in a wilderness that provided no hope of sustenance. We did receive the slav, quail, from Hashem, but, when one peruses the narrative, it seems that the quail was not a basic necessity for survival. The manna was the Jew’s staple. Hashem commands us to pattern our lives after those who ate the manna, the ochlei mann. Furthermore, Moshe Rabbeinu instructed Aharon HaKohen to place the tzintzenes ha’mann, a jar of manna, before the Testimony,…

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