Beshalach – Torah for Everyone

Beshalach – Torah for Everyone

Beshalach – Torah for Everyone

I have two friends, each one became observant for a different reason. The first one was turned on by the civil laws which are found in the Torah. He is from Guatemala. He told me that when you want to borrow money from a close friend. The money is only handed over after the amount of interest has been decided. Of course interest is despicable in the eyes of the Torah. It is likened to a snake bite.

Another friend was turned on to the Torah because of Shabbat. He liked Shabbat because we are not allowed to talk about business. The family is together in a relaxed atmosphere without the TV blasting. He felt that when secular people get together the phone is constantly ringing, The TV is too loud and the family argues over how each person is not doing what he needs to do.

People like this were not searching for a spiritual uplift when they came to Torah. In fact they were probably complaining about how miserable life is. In their misery they were enlightened about the Torah and G-d. It came to them as a surprise that the Torah is so pleasant.

This is exactly what happened to B’nai Yisrael in our Perasha. After leaving the parted Red Sea they wandered for three days in the Dessert. They did not find any sources for drinking water. The only water hole they found had bitter water. Hashem who is merciful taught Moshe how to make the water drinkable. The Pasuk then says “Sham Sam Chok Umishpat – There he set down judgments and laws.” The Midrash and Rashi tells us that these judgments and laws were in reality an introduction to the laws of Shabbat, Torah monetary laws and Parah Adumah – The Red Heifer.

In their misery, while they were searching for anything but a close relationship with G-d they were taught the deep lesson that the Torah’s ways are pleasant. Derachehah Darkey Noam. Shabbat and the laws of interest are two ways which my friends and B’nai Yisrael were introduced to the Torah. Both were no searching, instead they were complaining about their current misery. At the time of despondency they were taught agreat lesson about G-d.

The portion finishes off by saying that if you will follow the laws of the Torah all of disease which Hashem put in Egypt he will not give to you. Remember that the disease in Egypt started with the plague of blood which affected the water. During the story which we are now discussing the Jews found bitter water which Hashem sweetened. Our rabbis have said that water always refers to Torah. The bitter waters here represent not following the commandment of G-d. Sweet waters are the Mitzvot which my friends found pleasant.

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