Israel Forever

For the week ending 19 January 2008 / 12 Shevat 5768

Something to Sing About

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Library Library Library
"The horse and its rider were cast into the sea."

These are the opening words of the song that our ancestors sang when they were privileged to see their Egyptian pursuers drowning in Yam Suf. This is the sacred song that endows this Shabbat, when we hear it read in the Torah, with the title "Shabbat of Song".

In his commentary on Chumash Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman (RaMBaN) writes that the greatest miracle of the Exodus was Pharaoh's insane determination to continue pursuing his liberated slaves even after he saw the sea miraculously split before them. This was perhaps the most dramatic demonstration in history of what King Solomon said about royal decisions. "The heart of the king is in the hand of G-d" (Mishlei 21:1) said the wisest of men in painting a portrait of Divinely directed decisions made by rulers throughout the generations.

Pharaoh's decision to charge into the sea was programmed by Heaven, just as are all decisions made by rulers that affect their nations. This is something for us to truly sing about as we reflect upon the threats made by our enemies. The ultimate decisions will be made by our merciful G-d, and we pray that they will be for the benefit of Israel forever.

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