Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Beshalach

When Pharaoh and his army were in hot pursuit the Bnei Yisroel cried out (vayitz'aku) to Hashem. (14:10). Immediately afterward (14:11-12) they told Moshe how upset they were that he took them out of Egypt and that it would have been preferable to remain in Egypt rather than die in the desert.

Onkeles translates vayitz'aku in the sense of crying out with a complaint (see Ramban). According to Onkeles the flow of the psukim is understandable. First they complained to Hashem, then they turned to Moshe.

Rashi, however, translates vayitz'aku in the sense of crying out in prayer, meaning that they davened. Rashi, quoting the Mechilta, says this was an adoption of the behavior of their forefathers who instituted davening.

According to Rashi, (i) how are we to understand the flow of the psukim - if they were davening presumably they were not complaining to Hashem, so why would they turn to complain to Moshe, and (ii) why does Rashi tell us that they adopted the behavior of their forefathers; Rashi could just say simply that vayitz'aku means they davened - what compels Rashi to describe the source of davening at this juncture?

[Ba'er Haytev explains that they first davened, but, when feeling that their prayers were unanswered, they turned against Moshe. The Ramban explains that there were different groups within the Jewish people - some, a minority, went to daven sincerely, others went to complain. These explanations would answer the first question but not the second.]

The Maharal (in Gur Aryeh) gives an ingenious (and timelessly relevant) explanation. Rashi is bothered by the first question of how to reconcile the flow of the psukim; how does davening lead to complaining. By saying that they adopted the davening behavior of their forefathers (instead of simply saying that vayitz'aku means they davened) Rashi is explaining that their prayers were not sincere; they davened because it was a family custom to do so, but they did not have kavana or really believe in the power of their davening. So first they davened (without kavana) because that was their (mindless) custom, then they turned against Moshe, which was their true agenda.


Gal Einai, Copyright 2006 by Gedalia Litke and Torah.org


 

ARTICLES ON ACHAREI MOS AND KEDOSHIM:

View Complete List

Seeking Counsel - When and Where
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763

Leaving a True Legacy Behind
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5771

Separate and Pure
Shlomo Katz - 5759

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Joys of Animal Noise
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

Rav Elya Meir Bloch Interprets Rashi
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5767

The Command To 'Be Holy' Was Given In A Mass Gathering
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765

ArtScroll

Everybody's a Dreamer Everybody's a Star
Jon Erlbaum - 0

Commandments Bring us to Holiness
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5774

There's Holy, and There's Holy
Shlomo Katz - 5760

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Orlah - No Shortcuts?
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5765

Holy Reality Check
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5761

Why Is this Portion Different From All Other Portions?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5768

> Becoming Holy
Shlomo Katz - 5772

Life After Death
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5760

Don't Ignore History
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5757

Not Every Thing is Spelled Out in Shulchan Aruch
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information