N. Y. City Candle
lighting 4:53. Shabbat ends 5:55. Kiddush Levanah
may be recited through Tuesday night
BESHALACH: SHABBAT SHIRA -
Beshalach-Shabbat Shira-Living Faith
N. Y. City Candle
lighting 4:53. Shabbat ends 5:55
Kiddush Levanah may be
recited through Tuesday night
Shalom and Bracha!
This Shabbat we read the portion of Beshalach. This week’s
portion contains many miracles and many tests of faith that the
Jewish people endured. All of the miracles teach us to rely on
Hashem and follow His directives. After the Jewish people left
Egypt, Pharaoh and his army chased them, pinning them against
the ocean. The Jewish people were thrown into a state of
confusion. Among the people there were those who sought to
return to Egypt. Hashem told Moshe to tell the people to go
forward. Nachshon Ben Aminadav, the prince of the Tribe of
Yehudah, jumped into the water. Moshe raised his staff, Hashem
split the sea and the Jewish people went through the seabed on
dry ground. The Egyptians pursued and the ocean closed,
swallowing them and finally ending the Egyptian threat to the
Exodus. The Jewish people fully believed in Hashem and Moshe His
servant. Upon witnessing this, Moshe and the Jewish people sang
praise to Hashem. Their song is known as the “Shirah” (song) of
the sea, and is part of the daily prayers. This is the reason
why this Shabbat is called Shabbat Shirah. The Egyptian army
carried with them vast treasures which the Jewish people took
before their next journey. This teaches us that what seems to be
a difficulty (like the Egyptian army’s pursuit) is often a
source of blessing.
Thereafter, the Jewish came to an
oasis called Elim. The Torah tells us that there were twelve
wells and seventy date palms. Rashi explains that these
paralleled the twelve tribes and the seventy elders. This was a
hint from Hashem that our food and water come in the merit of
the forefathers and the merit of Torah.
Thereafter the Jewish people lacked bread, and Hashem
sent bread from heaven. The bread was sent in a manner to teach
them to have faith. Each day there was only sufficient for that
day. It was forbidden to save for the next day. Further, however
much one tried to gather, he only had enough for one day. This
teaches us that to realize that our sustenance comes only from
Hashem. If we deserve to receive a certain amount, all of our
efforts to make more will be to no avail. The way to attain more
is by meriting more in Hashem’s judgment.
When the Jewish people needed water, two miracles occurred.
First, Moshe threw a tree into bitter waters and sweetened them.
Later, he hit a rock and water came forth. The tree is symbolic
of the Torah, which is called an Eitz Chaim (Tree of Life). The
Torah from Moshe teaches us how to reveal the sweetness in the
bitter. The water flowing from the rock teaches us that our true
source of sustenance is completely hidden from us, just as the
water is concealed in the rock.
Thereafter, a nation called Amalek rose up against the
Jewish people. The war was a miraculous one. When Moshe’s hands
were uplifted, the Jewish people succeeded. When Moshe lowered
his hands, Amalek prevailed. This taught us that all of our
success in overcoming evil was dependent upon Moshe.
Chassidic teachings explain that Amalek represents our
doubting of G-d. By connecting ourselves with the Tzaddikim of
the generation, we overcome our inner Amalek. The Targum teaches
that the final vanquishing of Amalek will be in the time of
Moshiach. May we merit that as we study the redemption, we shall
A project of Chabad of Great Neck 400 East Shore Rd. Great Neck
516 4874554 fax 516 4874807
Shalom and Bracha!
February 4th, is Tu B’Shevat, the fifteenth day of the Hebrew
month of Shevat. The Gemarrah in Rosh Hashanah states that the
fifteenth of Shevat is the Rosh Hashanah for trees. This is
because the sap begins to flow again after the winter. Although
the Gemarrah is referring to the agricultural laws of tithing,
today it is celebrated as a holiday by not saying Tachanun and
by eating special fruits. It is customary to make the blessing
on the fruits for which Israel is famous, namely grapes,
pomegranates, figs, olives and dates. It is also customary to
eat a new fruit and make the blessing “Shehechiyanu.” By using
fruits to make blessings we help assure that Hashem should bless
the fruits of this coming year and by making the blessing on
fruits connected with Israel we enhance Hashem’s blessing and
protection of the land of Israel.
The New Year for trees has important lessons for each of us.
A person is compared to a tree. Just as a tree constantly grows,
a person must constantly progress. A person is also meant to
bear fruits. It is not sufficient that we grow ourselves; we
must also affect our surroundings. Just as a tree bears fruit
from year to year, we mustn’t be satisfied with our effect on
the world until now. We must keep giving and doing and growing.
The entire Jewish people are compared to a tree. Although
each branch grows in its own direction, they are all part of one
tree. The strength of each limb of the tree aids the entire
tree, and the weakness of any limb effects the other limbs.
Whatever directions we take, we are one people. When we
strengthen each other, we strengthen ourselves. This is alluded
to in the name of the month, Shevat. The word Shevat is related
to the Hebrew Shevet, which means branch.
The Gemarrah tells us that fruits represent Mitzvot. When a
tree bears fruit, it doesn’t lose its power to bear fruit, but
instead grows. When we do a Mitzvah, even if it seems difficult
or costly, Hashem repays us and gives us the strength to perform
another Mitzvah. When we plant a seed, we don’t see the fruits
for a very long time. However, from one seed grows a tree that
produces thousands of fruits each year, each capable of
producing new trees. We don’t always see the effect of the
Mitzvot that we do. However, Hashem nurtures them and they bear
fruit for us, our children and all future generations.
May Hashem grant that this Tu B’Shevat usher in a new era of
joy, healing, new growth and prosperity, particularly in Israel.
The Tanya explains that all of the good things that will occur
when Moshiach comes are a direct result of our service of Hashem
in Galut (exile). Each Mitzvah is a seed, whose fruit we will
see at that time. May the joy of redemption replace the pain of
The blessing for fruit that grows on trees is Baruch Atta
A-donai E-loheinu Melech Haolam Borei P’ree Haeitz
blessing Shehechiyanu for new fruits is Baruch Atta A-donai
E-loheinu Melech Haolam Shehechiyanu V’Kiy’manu V’higyanu Lizman
Dedicated in loving memory of Aharon Ben Yehudah
Ohabi. May Hashem grant perfect rest and joy to his soul and
grant strength and comfort to his family and all who loved him.
A project of Chabad of Great Neck 400 East Shore Rd. Great
Neck NY 11024
516 4874554 fax 516 4874807