Friday, February 02, 2007

Parshas Beshalach II

וַיַּרְא יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת-הַיָּד הַגְּדֹלָה, אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה יְהוָה בְּמִצְרַיִם, וַיִּירְאוּ הָעָם, אֶת-יְהוָה; וַיַּאֲמִינוּ, בַּיהוָה, וּבְמֹשֶׁה, עַבְדּוֹ.

"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."

As discussed before, the verse tells us that the Jews were overcome with Emunah towards Hashem and his servant Moshe. But, think about it: the freaking sea was splitting - how could they NOT have believed in G-d? When we think of Emunah/faith, we think of believing in something that we can't see (ie Hashem); not believing in something that is smack in front of your face. So why tell us that they believed in Hashem?

Rashi, on the following verse, tells us that this is a Torah reference to Techias haMasim/resurrection of the dead. While that comment seemingly has no relevance to our ques ton above, the Meor v'shemesh pieces the two together. He says that the Emunah the Jews had at Krias Yam Suf was an Emunah of Techias haMasim; something which can't be seen. While it answers our question, the connection between Krias Yam Suf and Techias haMasim is one that must be explored further.

R' Yaakov Emden in his Siddur, Beis Yaakov, points out there are 6 references in the second bracha of Shemonah Esrai to Techias haMasim. He explains why each one is there and goes on to quote a Gemara in Nedarim which classifies 4 types of people as being "dead": a poor person, a Metzora, a blind person, and a person without children. 4/6 references in Shemonah Esrai refer to Hashem bringing these people back to life; the 5th is one who is sleeping, as we believe that a person's soul is taken from him/her each night (the Aishel Avraham replaces this with a Rasha/wicked person in his count); and the 6th is for the literal resurrection of the dead (Lishaynay Afar). Looking at these different types of people that are classified as dead, the general theme is that these are people whose Koach as a person isn't fully being realized. A blind person has eyes, but can't see; a poor person has a life, but is unable to support himself; a person without children may have a great life for himself, but isn't passing that on to the next generation. No doubt, a person who finds himself in any of these circumstances (except maybe sleep) could be overcome with depression. Nevertheless, we believe in Techias haMasim, not only for the literal dead, but also for those who are considered dead, as well.

The Jews, at this part of the Parsha, find themselves with a sea in front of them, and an approaching army from behind. We tend to overlook this, as just a few pesukim later we find the Jews walking through the sea on dry land. Nevertheless, there must've been a few tense moments where the Jews literally thought this was the end - who could've blamed them for such thoughts? THAT is that connection between Krias Yam Suf and Techias haMasim - that the Jews now had Emunah that G-d take take the most downtrodden of people and lift them up.

The Mishna in Sotah says that Techias haMasim is going to come about through Eliyahu haNavi. Why specifically Eliyahu haNavi? R' Yosef Engel says that it will be specifically through him because he is the first person who brings someone back from the dead (his student Elisha). Because he is the Shoresh of Techias haMasim, the final Techias haMasim will come through him. R' Baruch Simon concludes with a final, beautiful point. Frequently, when the Gemara can't come to a conclusion, it will state the famous word "Teiku", teling us that we don't know what the answer is. We have all been taught that Teiku is Roshei Taivos "Tishbi (referring to Eliyahu haNavi) Yitareitz Kushos u'Bayos/Tishbi will answer our questions." Why is Eliyahu going to be the one who answers these questions? Teiku, in the Gemara, arises when we are stuck, we don't know which way to turn. The same Eliyahu, who is going to be Mechayeh haMasim (which, remember, isn't only literal; it also means bringing us up when we are down), is the same person who is going to resolve our questions.

Often in life we may feel down, depressed, or stuck. We're not the learners we once were in Yeshiva. We've lost friends with people that mean a lot to us. We're caught up in the day to day rigors of life and may neglect other responsibilities. Life throws us many a'opportunity to make ourselves depressed. It is for this that we have 6 mentions of Techias haMasim in the 2nd bracha of Shemonah Esrai; not only should Hashem bring a Techias haMasim mamish, but he should also be Mechayeh Masim to each of us on an individual level.

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