Parshat Beshalach 5783: Liberating Yosef’s Remains From Mitzrayim and B’nei Yisrael Learning Independence

Dear Friends:

This week, our Parshat HaShevua, Parsha Beshalach is being sponsored by R’ Moshe and Marla Braun (Moshe Braun – Fine Judaic Art) and family of Ramat Beit Shemesh in honor of Marla’s birthday on 14th Sh’vat. Also Sponsoring is Julian Hurwitz of Ramat Beit Shemesh dedicated Lilui Nishmas for the Yahrtzeit of his Father Shlomo Leib ben Chaim Ephraim To the Braun family and to Julian Hurwitz, many thanks for your sponsorship and for your continued kindnesses.

You can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring a Parshat HaShevua.

Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.

Best Regards,

Moshe Burt
skype: mark.burt3

Parshat Beshalach 5783: Liberating Yosef’s Remains From Mitzrayim and B’nei Yisrael Learning Independence

by Moshe Burt

This author opens this vort on Parshat Beshalach with this excerpt from Rabbi Shmuel Goldin’s Parsha Summary in his sefer, “Unlocking the Torah Text” on our Parsha (Sefer Shemos, page 99) :

Moshe fulfills a centuries-old vow, by ensuring that the remains of Yosef are carried out of Egypt as the people depart.

The Artscroll Stone Chumash renders to English Sefer Shemos, Perek 13, posukim 18-19 and provides notes on posuk 19:

“…Hashem turned the people toward the way of the Wilderness to the Sea of Reeds. The B’nei Yisrael were armed when they went up from Egypt [Mitzrayim]. Moshe took the bones of Yosef with him, for he [Yosef] had firmly adjured [verb: under oath; to entreat or request earnestly or solemnly] the B’nei Yisrael, saying, ‘Hashem will surely remember you, and you shall bring up my bones from here with you.'”

Note 19: Moshe took. Although Yosef wanted to be buried in Eretz Yisrael, he could not ask his children and brothers to do so immediately after his death, because Pharaoh would not have permitted it. He had no choice but to ask that he be reinterred [re-buried] after the Yetziyot Mitzrayim. Yaakov, however, made such a request (Artscroll Chumash citing Sefer Breish’t, Perek 47, posukim 29-30) because Yosef, as viceroy, had the power to carry it out. (Artscroll Chumash citing Rashi)

The Talmud (Sotah 13a) notes that only Moshe took Yosef’s remains: the rest of B’nei Yisrael were “occupied” with “requesting” the valuables of Egypt…

However, the Sapirstein Edition: The Torah with Rashi’s Commentary notes on posuk 19 with a footnote (Sefer Shemos, page 146):

“And you shall bring up my bones from here with you.” He [Yosef] made his brothers take this oath. This teaches us that [the B’nei Yisrael] also brought the bones of all of the tribes, i.e., the sons of Yaakov up from Egypt with them, as it says, “with you.”

A footnote on “with you” cites the Mechilta: This statement was addressed by Yosef to his brothers. Since the brothers would have died before the end of the exile, by “with you,” he meant “with your remains.”

Returning to Rabbi Shmuel Goldin’s sefer, “Unlocking the Torah Text” on Sefer Shemos, on our Parsha, Rabbi Goldin writes (page 104) :

Hashem punished the Egyptians because their acts warranted such a penalty. The Philistines [P’lishtim], however, have done nothing to this point [in our history at the time of Yetziyot Mitzrayim] to earn Divine retribution. Hashem, therefore, will not act against them even to protect his “chosen people.” He instead leads the B’nei Yisrael on a circuitous route in order to avoid the confrontation.

The B’nei Yisrael have to learn to fight their own battles. With the Yetziyot Mitzrayim, the rules begin to change. Until now, before His people set out upon their journey towards freedom, Hashem fought on their behalf. Now, the transition to independence requires that the B’nei Yisrael must learn to fend for themselves. Even later, when the last act of the Yetziyot Mitzrayim unfolds and Hashem does intervene to complete the destruction of Egyptian might in the waters of the Reed Sea, Hashem does not act until the B’nei Yisrael take their destiny into their own hands and begin to move into the sea. (Rabbi Goldin citing Rashi on Sefer Shemos, Perek 14, posuk 15)

Had Hashem waged a Divine battle against the P’lishtim, had He even miraculously protected the B’nei Yisrael from attack, the wrong message would have been transmitted. The time has come for the B’nei Yisrael to begin fighting their own battles. They are ill prepared for such challenge, however, at this moment [at the time of Yetziyot Mitzrayim]. Hashem, therefore, moves to avoid the confrontation.

Rabbi Goldin concludes (ibid):

The endpoints of Parshat Beshalach chronicle a striking transformation. While the Parsha opens with Hashem shielding the B’nei Yisrael from the mere possibility of conflict, it closes, ironically, with the B’nei Yisrael victorious in battle. The final scene of Beshalach describes the unprovoked attack upon the B’nei Yisrael by the nation of Amalek and the ensuing battle from which the erstwhile [adjective: former; of times past] slaves emerge victorious.

There are obviously lessons for modern day Israel inherent in both aspects of this vort. We have a solemn oath and obligation to restore to our nation, and to the bereaved families, the remains of our dead from prior battles, wars, terror attacks with or by our adversaries, as well as to liberate captives held by those adversaries.

Additionally, Israel has the solemn obligation to be unequivocal in defending herself, just as the B’nei Yisrael, upon our liberation from Egypt had to learn to fend for themselves, when confronting terrorism, as well as in battle with enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. As the saying goes, “Hashem helps those who help themselves.

May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them, that the thrice expelled families of Amona be restored to their rebui homes and the oft-destroyed Yeshiva buildings in Homesh be rebuilt, all at total government expense; due to alt-leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized Yassamnik gunpoint. Baruch Hashem that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard is now in his third year at home in Eretz Yisrael and has embarked on a new chapter in his life. May Esther Yocheved bat Yechiel Avraham have an aliyah in Shemayim and may her spirit and memory continue to lift Jonathan to at least 120 years. May the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem — as with the return in April, 2019, via Russia, of the remains of Zachariah Baumel, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of eight years ago. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and prevent Chas V’Challila the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. And may we soon and finally see the total end to the Communist Chinese corona virus pandemic and all like viruses. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nei Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Shabbos!
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.