Friday, January 29, 2010

Shabbat Shalom


Shabbat, Tu be'Shevat, Shabbat Shira + Parashat Beshlach. The Jews are leaving Egypt and crossing "Yam Suf - the Red Sea". All together this sounds so spiritual and many interpretations have been written.
However, when I studied the Ramban's (Nachmanides, 1194 - 1270) commentary on this week's Parasha, I found myself confronted with a question which has been bothering me for a long time. Although the Ramban, based on Rabbeinu Bachya (Spain, died in 1340), provides an answer, we will never know for sure.

"Why is it that the Israelites always started complaining ? They witnessed all the miracles G - d Himself did for them but, after a while, they started being rebellious. No food, desert, no future. Wouldn't it be better to return to Egypt ?"

On the other hand, the Israelites showed trust in G - d. Today they complained, tomorrow they were being loyal to G - d.
How is that ?

Both commentators have the same answer:

Because there were different groups within the camp. Each group had a different agenda and thus, conflicts arouse. Moshe's task was being a leader of all people and solve the conflicts. Today we would call this "Mission Impossible".

When we study the Parasha today, we are completely sure of ourselves that, if we had been in the desert, we would have not been among those rebels. We, of course, would have trusted in G - d, being overwhelmed by the miracles and totally religious. No more doubts and Yetzer HaRah - only G - d, Mitzvot and prayer. How there be any doubt about it ? We would have been so terribly frum, unbelievable.

Is this true ?
Look at us. Many of us live in Jerusalem but do we appreciate living there or aren't we just get used to our environment. Being in Jerusalem, having kosher food everywhere, Synagogues, religious books, etc. Anything you want but the truth is that we get used to it and forget the miracle of being in Israel.

We should compare the two situations and then question ourselves if we had reacted so much better in the desert at the times of Moshe. Humans are humans and we always tend to complain but also trust in G - d.

This Shabbat I will be in Jerusalem myself and I may forget about the excitement I should show due to the need for sleep. Well, at least I don't rebel.

"Shabbat Shalom - Gut Schabbes" !

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