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Beshalach - Weekly Thought - By Rabbi Shimon Raichik

Friday, 29 January, 2010 - 12:35 am

After the Yidden crossed the Yam Suf and the Mitzrim drowned, the possuk states that “Moshe moved the Bnai Yisrael away from the Yam Suf.” Rashi says says Moshe had to forcefully pull them away. Why? Because the Yidden were busy with the spoils from the Mitzrim at the Yam Suf; the spoils were greater than what they took out of Mitzrayim.

1. At Kriyas Yam Suf the Bnei Yisroel sang shira together with Moshe, and a maidservant saw a greater revelation of Hashem than even the greatest prophets could see. So how could it be that right afterwards they should get so involved in collecting gold and silver that Moshe Rabbenu had to force them away?

2. What was Moshe pushing toward? Toward Har Sinai to receive the Torah. As we know the reason we count sifras ha'Omer between Pesach and Shavous is because Moshe told the Bnei Yisrael that the goal of leaving Mitzrayim was receiving the Torah on Har Sinai and they counted every day that brought them closer. So they should have run toward Har Sinai and Moshe should not have had to force them.

3. The question is greater yet as every Jew leaving Mitzrayim had, as the Medrash says, ninety mules full of the gold and silver of Egypt. What are they going to do with all this additional money? If it was because while in the desert they might need to buy something, they surely had enough wealth with which to do so. At that time, Yetzias Mitzrayim should have been a complete redemption since Kriyas Yam Suf was prior to the decree that Bnai Yisrael had to remain in the desert for forty years they were looking forward to receive the Torah and go directly into Eretz Yisroel and build the Bais HaMikdosh. This would have been the complete redemption with Moshiach. Why did they want to collect more gold and silver?

The Rebbe answers: the Yidden had a mitzvah to empty Mitzrayim of its wealth. Chassidus explains that by emptying out the wealth of Mitzrayim the sparks of Kedusha in Mitzrayim were elevated. Therefore, when they saw the gold and silver at the Yam Suf, they realized they did not yet completely fulfill this mitzvah. By taking the wealth of Mitzrayim they converted it to Kedusha. This is also the reason why we find that the Torah is careful about money of Jewish people, and the Torah teaches us regarding baal tashchis (not to cause waste) because in every physical thing there is a spark of Kedusha that must be utilized to serve Hashem. Therefore, when Bnei Yisroel were involved in taking the wealth of Egypt they converted it from Tumah (impurity) to Kedusha (holiness). So the Yidden felt that they had a commandment that must be fulfilled and if they leave things behind at the Yam Suf those physical items will not be elevated to Kedusha. And if not now, when will this mitzvah be done? They knew they had to go to Kabolas HaTorah, but they felt Kabolas HaTorah could wait as they did not want to lose the opportunity for this mitzvah until they had fulfilled it entirely. They saw the great revelation of Hashem at Kriyas Yam Suf and understood they were not looking for the physical but the spiritual.

Why did Moshe Rabbenu tell them to go on—why was he pushing them? The answer is that when Moshe told them it was time to leave, the time for this mitzvah had finished. They had to pull themselves away from their own understanding and do what Moshe Rabbenu told them to do. It doesn't mean he physically pushed them. But they thought that as long as there was gold and silver they should continue what they were doing. So they had to pull themselves away and leave to follow Moshe Rabbenu. An example of this time limit is eating Matzo – which gives emunah. But if a person chooses to eat shmura matzo in the middle of winter, he is not accomplishing what he is supposed to accomplish. The time when matza will strengthen our emunah is during Pesach, not before or afterwards.

The lesson we learn from the Bnei Yisroel is how much they got involved in the mitzvah. We must do the same in our time. We cannot have one spark left behind nor can one Yiddishe neshama be left behind in golus. We must prepare for Moshiach. Someone could say he brought so many Yidden closer to Hashem – I want to take a vacation! Or I want to take more time for myself to learn and daven. But one cannot make such an accounting when you know that there are still Yidden to be reached you have to be involved until you get the direction from Moshe Rabbenu – the Nosi Doreinu – that now you have to leave this avoda and do a different avoda of Hashem.

Based on Lekutei Sichos, vol. 26

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