Join our weekly Peninim on the Torah list!


Back to Home -> Beshalach ->

ואהרן וחור תמכו בידיו

And Aharon and Chur supported his hands. (17:12)

When Moshe Rabbeinu raised his hands, Klal Yisrael became stronger. However, his hands were becoming heavy. To prevent his hands from descending, Aharon and Chur placed a stone beneath him, so that he could sit, and they supported his hands – one on each side. Horav Moshe Shternbuch, Shlita, observes that Moshe’s two supporters in the war against the evil Amalek were two individuals – his brother, Aharon, and his nephew, Chur, who had disparate natures and approaches toward serving Hashem. Aharon was the consummate ohaiv shalom, v’rodef shalom, loved peace and pursued peace. He was a pacifist who sought…

Continue Reading

והיה כאשר ירים משה ידו וגבר ישראל

It happened when Moshe raised his hand Yisrael was stronger. (17:11)

Chazal (Rosh Hashanah 29a) ask: “Was it Moshe’s hands that won the battle or lost the battle? Rather (the Torah) teaches you: As long as Klal Yisrael mistaklin k’lapei Maalah, looked Heavenward and subjected their heart to their Father in Heaven – they would prevail. When they did not, however, they would fall.” Horav Yosef Nechemiah Kornitzer, zl, renders Chazal’s statement homiletically. He focuses on one of the most important verities that plays a major role in Klal Yisrael’s merit to achieve success: achdus, unity, harmony among Jews. As long as we are united, fused together with the common goal…

Continue Reading

ויאמר משה אליהם איש אל יותר ממנו עד בקר

Moshe said to them, “No man may leave over from it until morning.” (16:19)

Chazal (Yoma 76a) teach that enormous amounts of manna descended each day – more than the nation required for a day’s sustenance. By midday, it was all gone. This was part of a Heavenly lesson to the people: Hashem provides for our daily needs – daily. To worry about tomorrow is a shortcoming in our emunah and bitachon, faith and trust, in Hashem. This is the gold standard for which a Jew should aspire. The amount of hishtadlus, endeavoring, that one should expend is correlated with his level and trust in Hashem. The Gaon, zl, m’Vilna, did not go to…

Continue Reading

הנני ממטיר לכם לחם מן השמים... למען אנסנו הילך בתורתי אם לא

Behold! I shall rain down for you food from Heaven… so that I can test them, whether they will follow My teaching or not. (16:4)

Heavenly bread, or sustenance from Heaven, was to be the test that determined the faith and trust of the Jew. Would he listen by observing Shabbos, trusting that the amount of food necessary to feed his family would arrive in a timely manner? Would he follow Hashem even if, at the end of the day, he had no food available for the next day? Last, would he now devote all his free time to matters of the spirit – Torah study and mitzvah observance? The test continues to this very day. Some individuals contend that they trust in Hashem; He…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our weekly Peninim on the Torah list!

You have Successfully Subscribed!