Beshalach: One Hill at a Time

Somebody is trying to open a kosher restaurant in the local “mall” (sorry, the Israeli definition of “mall” does not equal “mall”).  However, they ran into a small issue: there is a clothing store right across from them that had a huge photo of a woman clearly suffering from the famous “clothing allergy.”  And this is something that will keep the religious community from sitting at the restaurant.

So, they went and spoke to the store owner about their situation and asked if he would let them pay to change the window.  He understood and agreed.  In place of said female, is a nice graphic of the planet sitting in “somebody’s” hands with two psukim from Tehillim.

The story shows the wisdom of how they approached the person and dealt with the situation and how every Jew has that spark within them.

"…they then had faith in Hashem and Moshe, His Servant.  Then Moshe and the Children of Israel sang this song" (Shemos 14:31-15:1).

The Gemara (Yerushalmi) asks why is it that they sang this song of freedom right after Hashem closed the sea on the Egyptian army?  Why did they not sing this song earlier, like the night of the first Seder when Pharoah finally told them to leave or the next day, when they left Egypt en masse?  How did they know that it was appropriate to sing a song of praise to Hashem only after the episode at the Red Sea, a week after they left Egypt?

Rav Zolti, one of the leading rabbeim of Yerushaliyim several generations ago, answers this question, by pointing out the pasuk before they sang, "they then had faith in Hashem… then Moshe and the Children of Israel sang…"  Only when a person sees, feels and acknowledges his faith in Hashem, does he know that his redemption is complete and it is a proper time to sing.  But when a person is in a state of confusion and doubt, and things seem to be cloudy, his faith in Hashem is equally so, and it would be an inappropriate time to sing.

I was recently speaking to a friend, who is more than a few years younger than I, and he and his wife are trying to buy an apartment here.  They have limited resources at their disposal, but perhaps enough to make a purchase.  Anybody here who has bought in Eretz Yisroel knows that buying an apartment is one of the most stressful things to do.  I never bought in the United States, but I'm told it's a breeze compared to buying here, with all the silly bureaucracy and hoops one must jump through.

I told him, that I, myself, was in a similar situation.  In fact, I had far less resources than he currently has.  I had no idea how in the world I would buy any place.  I couldn't even afford to buy an apartment in the settlements.  Long story short: Hashem pulled some major strings.  In a story that lasted several years, I was able to finally buy in a place that I wanted to live, with money I did not have originally.

The process itself was weird and strange.  It had its ups and its downs.  But in the end, it worked out for the best.

And not just with buying a home.  In many aspects in life, we see the hand of Hashem only after the fact.  When we are in the middle of the story, we don't see Hashem.  We daven to Him and ask Him for help, but honestly, most of us, don't really feel His Presence in our lives during such hectic times.  Only when things calm down and you see that you came out with "more" than you had originally, does your faith in Hashem grow.

And the more you live life and go through these episodes, and more importantly, the more you look back and see how He has taken care of you, the more faith and strength you have (hopefully) to take on the next thing that comes your way.  When you are at some impasse and you take a moment to think back at all the other impasses, you will hopefully approach the current one with a bit more faith and calmness.

With that, I wish you all a wonderful Shabbos!