20 Jan Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for B’shalach 5776
This Shabbat we read from Parashat B’shalach on a Shabbat known as Shabbat Shirah, a Shabbat of song for the Song of the Sea sung by Moshe and Miriam after the Israelites cross the Sea of Reeds. But before the Israelites even arrive at the sea and need it to be split, God makes a decision on behalf of the Israelites to send them in that direction on their way to the Promised Land as opposed to by way of the Philistines which would have been closer. The reason for God’s decision is to prevent the Israelites from seeing war which might lead them to plead to return to Egypt. Ultimately that happens anyway at the banks of the sea but the reasoning God uses is a sound one – God is trying to set the Israelites up for success, as we all should do for others. Yes, there are times where we ask others to go out of their comfort zones with the understanding that success is not guaranteed, but for the most part, we should do our best to allow others to display their own best, just as God did for the Israelites in this moment.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik