25 Jan Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for Parashat B’shalach 5778 – Weekend of January 26, 2018
This Shabbat has a special name, Shabbat Shirah, since as we read from Parashat B’shalach we read the section known as Shirat Hayam or “The Song of the Sea”. While the splitting of the Red Sea is perhaps the greatest and certainly the most famous miracle performed by God in this week’s Torah portion, it is hardly the only one. After the people make it across the sea, God gives them water in the desert, food in the desert, more water and then saved them from the attacking Amalekites. What is noteworthy is that all of these miracles are only performed by God after the people ask for them in an unpleasant way. I wouldn’t dare say that God didn’t think ahead to the future needs of the people before redeeming them from Egypt, but it seems that it might have made more sense to perform these other miracles before the people ever had a chance to complain. It should teach us all the importance of careful planning before taking on a new project. There will always be unforeseen outcomes and side- effects, but if we remember to see the big picture, we ought to be able to foresee the need for things like water, food and protection from potential enemies.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik