Rabbi Yonah Burr
Beshalach: With a Flick of the Wrist
נטית ימינך תבלעמו ארץ
You stretched out Your right hand – the earth swallowed them.
The splitting of the sea was the climax of the exodus; an incredible display of Hashem’s power and might. All the waters of the world split. Hashem destroyed the entire Egyptian army as if they were nothing more than a child’s toy. The entire world saw, or heard, and trembled over the miracle that Hashem performed on our behalf.
Besides the miracle itself and the ensuing punishment to the Egyptians, there were lessons to be learned as well. זה קלי ואנוהו “This is my G-d and I will glorify Him”. Our Sages tell us that every single Jew was able to perceive Hashem’s presence as if they were the greatest of prophets. And this experience elevated the people to the level of angels, able to subsist on the heavenly food, the manna.
One of the many lessons we learned was this posuk, נטית ימינך תבלעמו ארץ “You stretched out Your right hand and the earth swallowed them”. Rashi explains, that all Hashem needs to do to punish the wicked is to simply, to “stretch out His hand”. In other words, Hashem does not need to actively do something to punish. We are all completely dependent on Him, and need his constant influence to live. All Hashem needs to do is simply remove this influence and the wicked will cease to exist.
The first ten plagues showed us that Hashem could ‘intervene’ and suspend the laws of nature. The splitting of the sea showed us that really there is no ‘law’ of nature, rather Hashem is everything, and nothing can possibly exist without His constant influence.
This also sheds light on our consistent trust in His providence.
אשא עיני אל ההרים, מאין יבא עזרי? עזרי מעם ד' עושה שמים וארץ
King David asks “I look up to the mountains and wonder from where will my salvation come? And David answers, “my salvation will come from Hashem”.
Seemingly these verses are hard to understand- what was the question, and what is the answer? Of course, our source of salvation is Hashem?
But David was asking, I am anxious because I don’t see how Hashem will bring about the salvation- until he realized that when it comes to trust in Hashem, we don’t even need to see how a salvation is possible, because Hashem doesn’t even need to work withing the framework of the laws of nature. Hashem can save and deliver even if we don’t see any way possible.
The miracles performed in Mitzrayim were meant to be lessons for the future; We can always put our trust in Hashem that He is there for us even before we see the end; may we merit the final redemption speedily in our days!
Have a wonderful Shabbos