16:17 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not by the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said: 'Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt.'
Derek Eretz – way of the land. The people did not leave Mitzrayim by the shortest route or the natural way. Instead they would leave with wonders and miracles. G-D was building a nation form the slave mentality to that of a mighty spiritual and physical force. We see in 14:11-12 how they were afraid of war.
18 But God led the people about, by the way of the wilderness by the Red Sea; and the children of Israel went up armed out of the land of Egypt.
Armed they were but like modern Israel in 1948 had not real military training and weapons such as chariots were not in the arsenal.
19 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him; for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying: 'God will surely remember you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you.'
While everybody was busy borrowing Jewelry, Moshe was taking care of finding where was the bones of Yosef.
20 And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness. 21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; that they might go by day and by night:
The pillar of fire and cloud guided them on their way.
22 the pillar of cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night, departed not from before the people.
The people went in the direction of the cloud and pillar traveling at a faster clip to get distance between themselves and Pharaoh. Still with children and animals, it was impossible to cover their tracks and despite the hours from dawn to night fall, still they could not progress too much.
14:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 2 'Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn back and encamp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, before Baal-zephon, over against it shall ye encamp by the sea. 3 And Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel: They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in.
At the time of the Bnei Yisrael being trapped, they could not see or feel the end results. However, HASHEM Yisborach has a complete plan ready from the outset and only after it is completed, the people could realize what was going on.
4 And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he shall follow after them; and I will get Me honor upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; and the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD.' And they did so.
The path with no way out except by the sea was done by HASHEM to make Pharaoh think that he had them trapped and he could easily kill the leaders and re-enslave them.
5 And it was told the king of Egypt that the people were fled; and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned towards the people, and they said: 'What is this we have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us?
They went three days into the wilderness spies pursued them. When the fourth day arrived there was neither a sacrifice with prayers or the return of the people. Pharaoh missed his work force.
6 And he made ready his chariots, and took his people with him. 7 And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over all of them.
Egypt was the super-power of that time. Can you imagine the modern equivalent of 600 well trained armored personnel carriers coming at a civilian population that had been brought up subservient.
8 And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel; for the children of Israel went out with a high hand. 9 And the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon. 10 And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians were marching after them; and they were sore afraid; and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD.
They are trapped between the mountains and the sea with Pharaoh behind them.
11 And they said unto Moses: 'Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to bring us forth out of Egypt? 12 Is not this the word that we spoke unto thee in Egypt, saying: Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it were better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.'
We now see the reason that HASHEM did not take the Bnei Yisrael via the Plishtim. But still they are entrapped and at the mercy of the 600 Chariots and perhaps a back-up of many running infantry.
13 And Moses said unto the people: 'Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will work for you to-day; for whereas ye have seen the Egyptians to-day, ye shall see them again no more forever. 14 The LORD will fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.'
Just have faith in G-D saving you. Physically they were trapped and scared yet their logic told them that their own hope was to turn their eyes towards HASHEM.
15 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Wherefore do you cry unto Me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward.
What are you and the people whining about they should start walking into the sea.
16 And lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thy hand over the sea, and divide it; and the children of Israel shall go into the midst of the sea on dry ground.
So Moshe lifted the rod and the sea started to split.
17 And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall go in after them; and I will get Me honor upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.
Pharaoh had refused to accept the fact that he was not a god and that HASHEM HU HA ELOKIM. He was about to learn the hardest of ways and from a super-power to no power in a few minutes of horses, chariots and soldiers drowning in the sea.
18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten Me honor upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.' 19 And the angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud removed from before them, and stood behind them;
This was Pharaoh’s last chance to turn back and stop his army when they were separated by the cloud.
20 and it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel; and there was the cloud and the darkness here, yet gave it light by night there; and the one came not near the other all the night.
This according to the laws of Pessach given is a Yom Tov but not mentioned as an Asseres (gathering) it is the culmination of Pessach so we do not bless Shecheiyanu (who has kept us alive).
21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all the night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
I have written that an east wind of about 40 mph or 60 kph at a temperature of around or above freezing would be enough to blow water aside and freeze it to stand in a column or columns on the right and on the left. (See last year or the year before in the blogspot).
22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
The Pshat is one wall to the right and one to the left. There is a Medrash that says 12 paths one for each tribe. The spot where chariots were found between Sinai and Saudi Arabia that has a higher sea floor or not so far from the other side at the straight and the water level of the Red Sea at that time and world Glacial Period was much lower so that the wall of water need not be that high. Artifacts found on the western coast of Eretz Yisrael indicate that the sea level 3400 years ago was much lower than today.
23 And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.
The pillar and cloud stopping them moved itself and they immediately continued in their folly. Pharaoh like the movie played by Yul Brenner watched safely from the western bank.
24 And it came to pass in the morning watch, that the LORD looked forth upon the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of cloud, and discomfited the host of the Egyptians. 25 And He took off their chariot wheels, and made them to drive heavily; so that the Egyptians said: 'Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fights for them against the Egyptians.'
The wind began to die down and with it the wind-chill factor. The ice holding the walls of water began cracking and the trickling water turned the sand into quicksand and between the water, stuck wheels, pillar-cloud and heavy armor the Egyptians could not easily flee from the middle to either shore.26 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Stretch out thy hand over the sea, that the waters may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.'
Even though horses are natural swimmers, when they are hooked up with chariots it is the equivalent to the mafia sending somebody off a boat weighted down. When the soldiers and their armor met the rushing water they drowned even if they knew swimming. The current would then push their bodies to the shore from the force.
There is a limit how much a person can swim against or even with a current. That is why when a rip tide hits the beach, you learn to swim with the tide and swim towards the side. If one is in a rocky Wadi in the Dead Sea area it is almost impossible to survive with the rocks when the Wadi grabs one or their vehicle. The only hope then is to try to find a place on the side quickly where one can get out of the water and rise up.
29 But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. 30 Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea-shore. 31 And Israel saw the great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians, and the people feared the LORD; and they believed in the LORD, and in His servant Moses.
At this time, our Parsha gets it second name “Shabbos Shira” or the Shabbos of Song because of the Song by the Sea.
Actually, the Hebrew reads: Then will Moshe and the Bnei Yisrael Sing. [implying that one day the people will be resurrected or perhaps reincarnated and sing. For even though our Sages talk of resurrection of the ‘dry bones’; after the Shoah and the massive burnings of bodies in the ovens of the camps; I tend to believe in reincarnation. I was once in a discussion with a lady around my age who claimed to be a reincarnation of somebody from the Shoah and I myself had dreams of trains that I wanted to avoid and riding one and seeing through the cracks grass and shrubs growing to a certain height on the tracks. The dream kept repeating itself that even though I was three at the time and my memory of how my friends looked like and what games I played are gone those dreams of 68 years ago remain implanted in my brain and the memories of the lady from her childhood too.
… 20 And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. 21 And Miriam sang unto them: Sing ye to the LORD, for He is highly exalted: the horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea. 22 And Moses led Israel onward from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. 23 And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore, the name of it was called Marah. 24 And the people murmured against Moses, saying: 'What shall we drink?' 25 And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD showed him a tree, and he cast it into the waters, and the waters were made sweet. There He made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there He proved them;
From Eilat to Sharm El Sheik there are very few if any water sources and the same thing on the Saudi side of the Sea. The problem was that the waters were still and the stagnant waters gathered from the minerals a very bad metal taste. Putting in the wood absorbed the bad flavor and it became potable water.
26 and He said: 'If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in His eyes, and wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases upon thee, which I have put upon the Egyptians; for I am the LORD that heals thee.'
Due what is correct and everything will be OK. Or sing the modern song with G-D “Let’s get together and it’ll be all right.”
27 And they came to Elim, where were twelve springs of water, and three score and ten palm-trees; and they encamped there by the waters.
This was an establish Oasis and abundant water supply.
16:1 And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt.
It appears from the current Midbar Sin that the people moved north and west if it is our current Nahal Sin near Sde Boker.
2 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron in the wilderness; 3 and the children of Israel said unto them: 'Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh-pots, when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.'
They were being supplied by HASHEM water but now after a month, their flour supplies had run out or was running out. When I was a new immigrant I did not have the luxuries and convenience of the States, I too complained for it is easier to see the negatives. Things then were not like they are now. Milk bottles had some cream on top then but the cream cheese was light in fat and a lot of other things did not exist. I complained to one foreman at work informally on the hardships of Israel. He gave it to me with the Pasuk above. He was right and I quieted down. It was not easy but I had come on my own and continued to make sacrifices. Gradually, I moved up in Israel society from the minimum wage to a higher level but not top notch. After 48 years, I am happier here than a lot of my friends in the States. I feel that I have better health care, my children had cheaper Jewish education and all the wealth they had went on education and health care. Compared to my classmates from grade school, I feel that I am better off. I do like the vacations in the States but there is something special about living in Israel.
4 Then said the LORD unto Moses: 'Behold, I will cause to rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in My law, or not. 5 And it shall come to pass on the sixth day that they shall prepare that which they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.'
This is the first indication of Shabbos being Kodesh. It is also a hint against gathering, going carrying from a public domain to a private domain even food on Shabbos or kneading it together into a Mann cake.
6 And Moses and Aaron said unto all the children of Israel: 'At even, then ye shall know that the LORD hath brought you out from the land of Egypt; 7 and in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the LORD; for that He hath heard your murmurings against the LORD; and what are we, that ye murmur against us?' 8 And Moses said: 'This shall be, when the LORD shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the LORD hears your murmurings which ye murmur against Him; and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD.'
Not only will they have this daily fresh tasty Mann but for a month they will get flesh of quail.
… 13 And it came to pass at even, that the quails came up, and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew round about the camp. 14 And when the layer of dew was gone up, behold upon the face of the wilderness a fine, scale-like thing, fine as the hoar-frost on the ground. 15 And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another: 'What is it?'--for they knew not what it was. And Moses said unto them: 'It is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat. 16 This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded: Gather ye of it every man according to his eating; an omer a head, according to the number of your persons, shall ye take it, every man for them that are in his tent.'
The people asked themselves Mann Hu in Hebrew or what is this and the Omer of Mann became their bread. This Parsha is called Parsha Ha Mann.
17 And the children of Israel did so, and gathered some more, some less. … 20 Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and rotted; and Moses was wroth with them. 21 And they gathered it morning by morning, every man according to his eating; and as the sun waxed hot, it melted. 22 And it came to pass that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one; and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. 23 And he said unto them: 'This is that which the LORD hath spoken: To-morrow is a solemn rest, a holy Sabbath unto the LORD. Bake that which ye will bake, and seethe that which ye will seethe; and all that remains over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.'
The people had gathered 2 Omers on Friday morning and from this we get the custom that is Halacha in nature of saying Motzei over two Lechem (two Challos or Challa and a roll.
24 And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade; and it did not rot, neither was there any worm therein.
Six Days a week it would rot, but on the Shabbos it will not rot showing the holiness.
25 And Moses said: 'Eat that to-day; for to-day is a Sabbath unto the LORD; to-day ye shall not find it in the field. 26 Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day is the Sabbath, in it there shall be none.' 27 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that there went out some of the people to gather, and they found none.
For the L-RD rested on Shabbos and did not make a miracle. If the CREATOR of the Universe acts this way, all the more so the Ben Yisrael who was commanded at Sinai to observe.
28 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'How long refuse ye to keep My commandments and My laws? 29 See that the LORD hath given you the Sabbath; therefore, He giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.' 30 So the people rested on the seventh day.
G-D was angry and disappointed that the Bnei Yisrael did not fully rest on the Shabbos as commanded.
31 And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna; and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. 32 And Moses said: 'This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded: Let an omerful of it be kept throughout your generations; that they may see the bread wherewith I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you forth from the land of Egypt. …:1 And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, by their stages, according to the commandment of the LORD, and encamped in Rephidim; and there was no water for the people to drink. 2 Wherefore the people strove with Moses, and said: 'Give us water that we may drink.' And Moses said unto them: 'Why strive ye with me? wherefore do ye try the LORD?' 3 And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said: 'Wherefore hast thou brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?'
This is the third trial for HASHEM. Moshe was ordered to seal in perhaps a glass jar for future generations to see.
4 And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying: 'What shall I do unto this people? they are almost ready to stone me.' 5 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Pass on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smote the river, take in thy hand, and go. 6 Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink.' And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.
Moshe was about to produce water in a miracle.
7 And the name of the place was called Massah, and Meribah, because of the striving of the children of Israel, and because they tried the LORD, saying: 'Is the LORD among us, or not?'
The name of the place comes from the Hebrew for bitter and dispute meaning the name is called ‘bitter dispute’ for that is what it was before both Moshe and HASHEM.
8 Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim.
The root of the word means softness and because their faith softened, Amalek or more the people who championed the Yetzer had the power to harass the Bnei Yisrael. Amalek came from Esav. Rabbi Shimon (Bar Yochai) said, “Halacha which is know that Esav hates Yacov”.
9 And Moses said unto Joshua: 'Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek; tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.' 10 So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 13 And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
HASHEM gave the men the power to make the victory, but they needed the psychological assurance of seeing Moshe holding the rod to over-come their slave mentality and fear. I believe that I wrote in the past that I was supposed to be a paramedic on an Air Force base far from the front lines as my training had been quite short. Instead, I got apprenticeship training on the front line and had come like many soldiers during the Yom Kippur War from a place far from the front. The noise of our artillery rattled the ground and even our own booms were scary for a peaceful reserve civilian. There I was trained to shoot half inch-wide bullets and full machine gun in a few minutes. There was one thing that kept me from panic and that was faith. Every morning I rose with the Proverb (Mishlei 9:10) on my tongue, “The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the L-RD!” The L-RD and not an RPG or bullet from Fatachland or today Hezballah on the Lebanese side.
14 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Write this for a memorial in the book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.' 15 And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Adonai-nissi. 16 And he said: 'The hand upon the throne of the LORD: the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.'
My name is Hanan Shomrony and I’m searching for my brother.
He was born in 1946, his parents’ first born, in Europe after the Second World War. In 1949, when he was two and a half years old, he and his parents made Aliya to Zfat in Israel. He was hospitalized a month later in the Emek Hospital in Afula because of dysentery. Two days later my father was informed that he had passed away. (Parents were not allowed to stay with their sick children so my father was obliged to leave him there.)
There was no funeral and of course there is no grave. My parents were new immigrants, survivors of the holocaust, who had arrived only one month prior to this. They accepted this news without question and didn’t make any further inquiries.
The Ministry of the Interior informed me, years later, that in 1963 someone with his ID number had left the country. However, in the Death Registry of the Religious Council in Afula he is registered as having died in 17.04.1949 and was buried in a common grave.
His first name was Israel, the son of Chava and Yosef Heiventreager (sp) I.D. 0203317-3. It is possible that his first name stayed with him as he was already two and a half years old at the time.
I was born six months later and know of him only from what my parents had told me. Unfortunately, my parents have passed away and the searches that I have been carrying on during the years have never provided any answers. I still hope that this story will awaken a spark of a memory in someone of a baby that was adopted at the age of two and a half, blond with bright eyes that spoke only Yiddish. He or those who adopted him were probably told that he was an orphan brought from Europe. He would be 65 or 66 years old today.
I enclose pictures of him as an infant with our parents before coming to Israel. I regret that I don’t have any pictures of a later period. Perhaps this mail will, by some stroke of luck, be received by someone who will recognize or will find similarities in the faces of our parents and that of Israel.
Please forward to this mail to anyone you can. Perhaps a miracle will happen and I’ll be reunited with my long lost brother.
Hanan Shomrony email@example.com