Saturday, January 12, 2008

Beshalach Summary

You can read some divrei Torah from Tosefet Bracha by clicking on the link. (My translation, R' Baruch HaLevi Epstein's Divrei Torah - aka the Torah Temima)

Here is a summary of the Parsha.

When Pharaoh sends the Jews out of Egypt, G-d guides them on a long route through the wilderness in order to avoid seeing war, which might cause them to return to Egypt. G-d leads them with a pillar of cloud by day, and a pillar of fire at night. G-d instructs them to turn back towards the Reed Sea1 so that Pharaoh will think that they are lost and be tempted to pursue them.

Pharaoh and the Egyptians regret letting the Jews leave and chase after them with horses and chariots. The Jews are terrified; the Egyptians are right behind them and the sea is facing them. With no way out they complain to Moshe. G-d instructs Moshe to hold out his staff over the sea, and it splits, allowing the Jews to cross. Once they have all crossed safely , G-d again instructs Moshe to hold out his staff, and the sea returns to its normal state, drowning all the pursuing Egyptians. The Jews, led by Moshe, sing praise to G-d for all of the good that he has done for them.

They travel onward to the wilderness of Shur, walking three days without water. They arrive in Marra but the water is too bitter to drink. The Jews complain about Moshe, who prays to G-d and is told to place wood from a certain tree into the waters, which sweetens them. In Marra G-d gives them some of the 613 commandments.

They journey on to Elim, and camp by twelve springs surrounded by seventy palm trees. Next they go to the wilderness of Sin. The Jews complain about the lack of food and moan about Moshe and Aharon's leadership. G-d sends them Manna and quails, and instructs them about Shabbat. G-d instructs Aharon to take a container, place Manna in it, and keep it as an eternal reminder that He provided for them in the desert.

Again there is no water to drink, so G-d instructs Moshe to hit a rock with his staff in front of the entire nation. Water then flows from it, and this spring follows them throughout their journey in the desert.

The nation of Amalek attacks the Jews at Rephidim. Joshua leads the men in battle, and they eventually succeed in weakening Amalek. G-d instructs them to write down what Amalek did, as an eternal reminder. G-d also states that he will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek.

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