65. "And when Pharaoh drew near" (Shemot 14:10). This passage has already established that he brought close his whole army and chariot riders to do battle. Rabbi Yosi said, We have learned here that he drew them closer to repentance; THEREFORE IT IS WRITTEN, "And when Pharaoh drew near," OTHERS AND NOT 'AND PHARAOH DREW NEAR' HIMSELF.
66. It is written, "Hashem, in trouble have they sought You, they poured out a silent prayer" (Yeshayah 26:16). "In trouble have they sought You," MEANS Yisrael did not seek the Holy One, blessed be He, at times of comfort. Only when they have trouble do they all remember and seek Him. "They poured out a silent prayer." They all pray with prayers and beseeching, and pour out prayers before Him. When? "When Your chastening was upon them" (Ibid.), at the time that the Holy One, blessed be He, chastened them with His whip. The Holy One, blessed be He, stands over them with Mercy. Their voice is favorable to Him in order to take revenge from their enemies, and He becomes full of compassion for them.
67. As we have explained the parable of the dove with the hawk, so it is with Yisrael. They were approaching the sea and saw the sea before them, raging and storming. Its waves were towering above, and they feared. They raised their eyes and saw Pharaoh and his army and flying stones and arrows, and they feared greatly. What did they do? "And the children of Yisrael cried out." Who caused the children of Yisrael to come closer to their Father in heaven? Pharaoh. This is what is written, "And when Pharaoh drew near." It has already been explained.
68. "And Moses said to the people, 'Fear not, stand still and see the salvation of Hashem'" (Shemot 14:13). Rabbi Shimon said, Fortunate is the portion of Yisrael that a shepherd like Moses goes among them. It is written, "Then He remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people" (Yeshayah 63:11). "Then He remembered the days of old" refers to the Holy One, blessed be He; "Moses, and his people," because Moses was equal to all of Yisrael. We learned from this that the shepherd of the people is really the whole people. If he merits, then all the people are righteous. If he does not merit, then all of the people have no merit and are punished because of him. This has already been explained.
69. "Stand still and see." You do not have to do battle because the Holy One, blessed be He, will do battle for you, as written, "Hashem shall fight for you, and you shall hold your peace" (Ibid. 14). Come and behold, that night, the Holy One, blessed be He, gathered His retinue and Judged the Judgment of Yisrael. If the Patriarchs had not hastened TO PRAY for Yisrael, they would not have been saved from the Judgment. Rabbi Yehuda said, the merit of Jacob protected the Congregation of Yisrael. This is what is written, "If not for Hashem, Who was with us, let Yisrael now say" (Tehilim 124:1), who IS Yisrael Saba, NAMELY JACOB.