Vertluch: Parshas Beshalach


It is five thirty in the morning, the alarm rings; within minutes you are off to shul ready to start your day. After you learn and daven you head back home at seven thirty, grab your work bag and off to the train you go.

As soon as you get into the office you are confronted from all angles; the printer is not working, bills have to be paid, an irate customer is on the phone, etc. We’re all too familiar with this routine and this is just the beginning of the day.

Yet, when you open the door that evening and enter your house, you are greeted by a sense of calmness and tranquility. You can’t believe your eyes- the house is in order, the kids are ready for bed and a piping hot dinner is on the table. You look at your wife and want to express a sense of gratitude and affection for her hard work. Your mind is racing to think of a compliment when suddenly you remember the pasuk in Shir Hashirim-which is wellspring full of expressions of love between Hashem, and klal Yisroel-and you tell her, ‘you remind me of the horses of Pharaoh.’

What type of expression of love and fondness is that? Many of us wouldn’t dare say that to our spouses!

However, this man is merely borrowing an idiom from Shir Hashirim (1; 9), where Shlomo Hamelech inscribes expressions of love to Hashem and writes ‘’l’susasi b’rivchei Pharaoh dee-misich rayasi; to the horses in Pharaohs chariot, you are compared to my beloved.

What can possibly be a proper explanation to the above?

Secondly, Rashi (15; 1) on the pasuk ‘sus vrochbo rama vayam’ says that normally, when an animal takes its rider with it into the water, the rider is thrown off. But here, Hashem kept the rider on the horse the entire time as the rider did not separate from his saddle. According to Rashi there seems to be some kind of importance in stating that they weren’t separated. What lesson can be learned from the fact that Hashem had the rider attached to the horse?

Rav Yankel Galinsky Shlit”a, the magid of Eretz Yisroel offers an explanation.

He asks, why were the horses punished-they didn’t do anything wrong? Says Rav Galinsky, any person or being that is an accomplice and assists another in doing something bad, is considered part of it. They were used as a vehicle which enabled the Egyptians to destroy and humiliate us. These horses, albeit they were doing their jobs, were entitled to a punishment as well. For that reason they were strapped onto the mitzriyim as they suffered and ultimately drowned, so did the horses.

That, says the magid, is pshat here in our parable. What the husband was expressing to his wife was that they were partners. While he went out and learnt and davened and went to work-she received schar for all of these actions too, because she stood behind him and enabled him to do this.

Maybe this is pshat in Rashi also, Hashem wanted to teach us this lesson: the horses were bound to the rider because they were its accomplices. If you are with someone you are with them till the bitter end; for the good or for the bad.

There was a yid from the former Soviet Union who would attend a daf yomi shiur every night. Every night after the shiur began he would fall asleep. Week in and week out and without fail, he slept throughout the whole shiur.

One night the magid shiur asked him, why do you even bother to come to the shiur? I understand it’s hard for you to stay awake, but why do you come, you are not gaining anything?

This yid answered as follows.

When I was a young boy I was sitting around with friends and we would speak against the Government and the KGB. All of my friends were coming up with ideas of how they can sabotage them and how they will try to take over. One day, the KGB stormed in the room and we were all arrested. A few days later we were in court and stood in front of the judge. He read all our names in a loud tone, the crime we were guilty of committing, and our punishments. By every one of my friends he did just that; but at my name, all he said was my name and to go to Siberia. I immediately stood up and protested. I said to the judge ‘you haven’t announced what I’m guilty of-all you said was that I’m going to Siberia! I haven’t said a bad word about the government in that room!’ The judge looked at me and answered: “az du zitz mit zey, bist du mit zey-if you sit with them you’re with them!

I know I don’t always understand the shiur but after one hundred and twenty years when I am getting judged on my Torah I will say, ‘I sat with them, I want to be counted as part of them.’

We have to understand that we have to take part and become partners in helping others do the right thing. By doing so, we get the reward too. At the same time, if chas vsholom we help them do bad then we are responsible till the end as well.

May we merit becoming partners with the right person and for the right causes.