Our Faith in Hashem
This week’s Parsha, Parshat Beshalach, describes the story of how the Jewish nation left the Egyptian exile and engaged on the path to redemption. They left a land of sin and impurity, prepared themselves for Matan Torah and ultimately fulfilled their destiny as a people and settled the land of Israel. However this story is not without its complications and setbacks. The Jewish people were far from perfect, and the nation that entered Israel came a long way from their ancestors that dwelled in Egypt. We are of course famIliar with stories such as the Chet Ha-agel and the story of Bnei Yisroel complaining about the food and then receiving sloves, wherein the Jews violated the trust of Hashem over and over again. Looking at this progression of events, a critical observer might well be prompted to ask why the Jews were deserving of salvation at all. After all, they were certainly not immune to the corruption of Egypt. This question can be answered when we look at the last moments that the Bnei Yisroel spent in Mitzraim. They were on the edge of the Red Sea, with Pharaoh’s armies closing in behind them. It was a desperate situation, and many began to lose hope. In response to Moshe’s prayers, Hashem replied:
“Why do you cry to me Moshe? Speak to the B’nei Yisrael and let them move on”.
Rashi (Perek 14, verse 15) explains further:
“the merit of their ancestors’ as well as the trust they had in me when they went out of Egypt is sufficient to split the sea for them.”
In other words, it is the trust they placed in HaKadosh Baruch Hu that earned them the right to be saved. Faith and reliance on Hashem was the only thing that was required of them at that point, and the reward for this faith was the immeasurable Zchut of Matan Torah and Eretz Yisroel. Not everyone was worthy of this recompense: the Rashi in the previous week’s Parsha tells us that 4/5th of B’nei Yisroel died during Makat Choshech because they didn’t want to leave Egypt and were unwilling to place their faith in Hashem. In contrast, nowhere is this faith and the tremendous holiness that accompanies it more clearly illustrated than in the story of Nachshon, who with contempt for his own life plunged himself in the Red Sea. He exhibited openly this ideal of complete dependence and confidence in Hashem.