Beshalach: Chapter 15

"And Yisrael saw that great work"


Rabbi Chiya opens with "And the children of Yisrael saw that great work (lit. 'hand')." We read of the meaning of the five fingers of each hand, and the miracles that the Holy One, blessed be He does with them; it was the miracles at the Red Sea that led Yisrael and the Pharaoh to full belief in Hashem. Until then the Pharaoh had hardened his heart against Hashem. We read that the righteous are often snared in the sins of the wicked, as were the Egyptians who had not oppressed the children of Yisrael but were nonetheless slain. When Yisrael was sent into exile in Egypt, the Holy One, blessed be He, gave them constant reassurance to counter their fear. At the time they were delivered from Egypt, all the patriarchs gathered to see the promises that He had made to them fulfilled, for the sake of the covenants that He had made with them. Rabbi Aba says that there is a world above and a world below; from the lower world the judgments upon the lower beings are aroused. The Holy One, blessed be He, performs miracles for His people in this lower world, and it was thus that the Egyptians sank into the sea.