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BE’SHALACH – “sent forth”

 

The fourth section of the Book of Exodus begins as Pharaoh “sent forth” the Jewish people from Egypt.

G-d knew that the Jewish people would not feel totally free from Pharaoh’s clutches as long as he remained alive, and the potential threat of his pursuit would prevent them from receiving the Torah fully. So G-d, again made Pharaoh stubborn, inspiring him to pursue the Jewish people to the shore of the Sea of Reeds (the Gulf of Suez). Seeing him approaching, the Jews panicked.

The Midrash offers another interpretation; by chasing them, Pharaoh drew the Jews nearer to G-d, as evidenced by them crying out to Him when they saw the Egyptian army approaching. Indeed it is often the opposition that awakens our deepest reserves of energy.

When we are confronted with a challenge, we should view it as an opportunity for spiritual growth rather than to try and avoid it. Comfort and contentment can cause us to lose sight of our priorities, weakening our sense of urgency in our Divine mission. Hence, physical or spiritual adversity can shock us out of indifference, undermining our self-assurance and affording us the opportunity to advance in our relationship with G-d by breaking through obstacles.

Have a wonderful Shabbat followed by a fulfilling and successful week.