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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Krias Yam Suf’

The Merit Of Trusting Hashem

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

And Hashem said to Moshe, “Why shout at Me? Speak to the Jewish people and they should cross. – Shemos 14:15

After months of witnessing the hand of Hashem, the entire Jewish nation – three million strong – marched out from slavery to freedom with flourish and fanfare.

Escorted by clouds of glory, walking through a desert made smooth by overt miracles, they traveled as one. It seemed the troubles of the Jewish people were finally behind them, and they were being escorted to their final redemption – until the clouds directed them to a dead end: the sea. Stopping there, the Jewish people looked up and saw Mitzraim chasing after them. With nowhere to turn, they waited while Moshe called out to Hashem. Hashem answered back, “Moshe, why do you cry out to Me? Speak to the Jewish people and let them travel.” At that point, the entire nation crossed the Yam Suf.

Rashi is bothered by the expression Hashem used: “the Jews need only travel.” What did Hashem mean by that? How could they travel when an entire sea was in the way? Rashi explains that Hashem was saying there is nothing that will stop Klal Yisrael because they are worthy of the greatest miracles ever known to man. Rashi then enumerates the reasons they are so worthy. 1. The merit of the Avos. 2. Their own merit. 3. The merit of the trust they had in Hashem at that moment.

The difficulty with this Rashi is that he lists all three reasons in same breath as if they are equal, and clearly they aren’t. The first two, the merit of the Avos and the Jews’ own merit, refer to overall perfection across the gamut of human activity. The Avos were living, breathing Sifrei Torah. We learn from their every action and thought. Their combined merit is hard to imagine. And even the second cause, the merit of the entire Jewish people, was stupendous. While not every member had remained on the highest level, as a nation they had remained loyal to Hashem. After spending months witnessing Hashem’s direct involvement in their lives, they had grown to great levels across many different areas: chesed, emunah, ahavas Yisrael, emes. How can we compare one single aspect – their trust in Hashem – to the merit of the Avos or to the merit of all their actions put together? It would seem to be dwarfed by comparison. Yet Rashi put these together as if they are all equal reasons why Hashem would create miracles for the Jewish people.

Hashem’s Involvement in the World

The answer to this question is based on understanding Hashem’s relationship to this world. The Chovos HaLevovos explains that because Hashem created this world, He feels a responsibility, if it could be, to sustain it. Much like if I invite you to my home, it is my obligation as host to take care of your needs, so too Hashem feels almost obliged to support all of His creations. However, there are different levels to Hashem’s direct involvement in the running of this world, what the sefer Derech Hashem calls “hashgacha klalis” and “hashgacha pratis.”

Hashgacha klalis, or general intervention, refers to Hashem’s involvement in the “big picture” issues: famine, war, epidemics, natural catastrophes, and maintaining the multitude of systems that allow for life as we know it. It is a given that Hashem is constantly involved in the running of this world at that level. However, the specific details and the day-to-day running of the world Hashem has given over to a host of forces He created and maintains but allows to actually carry out the laws He set. These forces determine much of what befalls humanity.

Hashgacha Pratis, or personal intervention, is very different. This refers to Hashem’s personal involvement in a nation’s or a person’s life. It includes Hashem actually supervising directly, watching over and taking care of the needs of those individuals.

General intervention is a given; it is something Hashem assures to all of creation as a birthright. Personal intervention is quite different; it must be earned. By dint of being the children of the Avos, the Jewish nation merits personal intervention – provided they keep certain conditions. One of these is that they must recognize Who runs the world. In this regard, it functions on a continuum. The more a person trusts in Hashem, the more, if it could be, Hashem feels an obligation to take care of that person, and the more Hashem will be directly involved in that person’s life. It is almost as if Hashem says, “How can I not take care of him, he relies on Me, he trusts in Me.

This seems to be the answer as to why the “merit of their belief in Hashem” was so pivotal at Krias Yam Suf. In terms of the objective weight, there is no comparison between the merits of the Avos and their current trust in Hashem, but trust in Hashem operates on a different level. It alone can be the reason Hashem will save a people. It was almost like Hashem was saying, “How can I not take care of them? They trust in Me. They rely on Me. I have to save them.” And that trust alone was reason enough to split the sea.

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 4/18/08

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories by e-mail to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 338 Third Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215.

To all women, men or children who feel that they are at the end of their ropes, please consider joining a support group, or forming one.

Anyone wishing to make a contribution to help agunot, please send your tax deductible contribution to The Jewish Press Foundation.

Checks must be clearly specified to help agunot. Please make sure to include that information if that is the purpose of your contribution, because this is just one of the many worthwhile causes helped by this foundation.

* * * * * * * * * *

Dear Rachel,

I had written to vent my frustration (Chronicles 12-14) with all those well-intentioned people who would suggest a shidduch and then not follow through with it, leaving the single in limbo. I pointed out that it’s not enough to come up with an idea, that the pain and frustration to the single is horrific.

The responses from several readers (Chronicles 2-1) was comforting, especially the one from the single who pointed out that the “shadchan” may not realize that singles wait on tip-toe to hear from the shadchan about what the dates’ impressions were or whether there will even be a date after weeks of looking into a person.

My daughter presently in her mid-20s has been dating for several years and is all but burnt out from this process. Let me tell you that she is a very social, well-groomed and accomplished young lady, but that she is fed up with all the protocol and shtick involved in the dating scene. The really sad part about this is that she has all but shut me out (as well as her father and siblings) and won’t even tell us when she has a date coming up.

I admit that perhaps we have all questioned her a bit too much about dates that she has been on. However, I think that we have basically just tried to be supportive and helpful. The pain in her eyes every time she hears of another engagement is more than I can bear.

I would like to appeal once again to all friends, families, neighbors and even acquaintances of any singles: Please try and get involved. Everybody knows somebody from the block, shul, workplace, etc. Please make that call if you think you might have an idea for a shidduch, and of course follow up on it in its entirety. It takes five minutes to make a call while you are relaxing in the evening, or even on line at the supermarket. (I can’t tell you how many calls I make for people while grocery shopping.)

The singles that you know are experts at looking nonchalant and pretending that they don’t care. Believe me, behind closed doors it is a very different picture.

I invite other mothers or shadchanim to write and comment on this and maybe motivate others to open their hearts a little more to the singles situation.

More from a Frustrated Mother

Dear Frustrated Mother,

Naturally you hurt when you perceive your children’s pain. You vehemently protest against the callous indifference some shadchanim display once a shidduch is proposed, not to mention the lack of concern on the part of the general public that doesn’t bother getting involved at all.

From my vantage point of “observer,” I gather that your daughter has not only her own frustration to deal with but carries the burden of her mother’s pain as well.

It becomes apparent that this is one of the reasons your daughter has shut you out. Your obvious disappointment makes your daughter’s more acute. Even when she might be fine with a proposed shidduch coming to naught, your letdown becomes her emotional burden. Though you mean well, your outlook and your reactions can be oppressive; your daughter needs to deal with her situation in her own way, unhindered by heavy interference from family members.

Your daughters are adults who need space, as in privacy and breathing room. In your own words, you admit to questioning her “a bit too much”, albeit out of a desire to be “supportive and helpful”. But your utterances of frustration only serve to drag your children down with you.

Your daughter’s nonchalance is a façade to some extent but is far preferable over giving the impression of being a bitter, worn-out single (which she may not be, even if you imagine that she is). Place your trust in Hashem and let emunah calm your jangled nerves. Optimism is catchy, not to mention healthy.

While I am aware that making and taking (cell) calls just about anytime anywhere has become common practice, attending to your personal matters while “on line at the supermarket” or “grocery shopping” is inappropriate, Confidential exchanges within hearing range of other shoppers may leave you feeling accomplished, but your satisfaction is achieved at the expense of others who have the right to expect not to be distracted, disturbed, or forced to listen in on you personal goings-on.

Read on…

Dear Rachel,

I am writing regarding the mother of single daughters who had written to complain about the attitudes of shadchanim. As a layperson (just looking to do my part to help in this area), I must state my grievance at the attitude of singles.

Not only do they not return calls for weeks after saying they will “sleep on it” and get back in touch, they act like they are doing us the biggest favor by listening to begin with. The ridiculous excuses of “it doesn’t sound right” or “I don’t get good vibes about it” may demonstrate why these older singles are older and still single.

How can a single in good conscience pass on a 50/50 chance at finding her bashert?

The singles thus inclined also seem to have no appreciation of the emotional investment that often goes into the matchmaker’s effort.

I recently overheard an eligible “older” male remark to a shadchan that he had no desire to be set up with girls 30 and up because of their lack of enthusiasm and attitude of just “wanting to get the date over with.”

Wake up, singles!

Dear Wake,

Please do not lose the faith. If you succeed in effectuating just one match, it will all have been worth every bit of your input!

Let’s not forget that Krias Yam Suf occurred not a moment sooner or later than was predetermined by Hashem − a profound lesson in bashert and faith in a Higher Power that orchestrates how, when and where.

Wishing all readers an uplifting and inspirational Pesach holiday!

(Please note that the next Chronicles column will appear May 2.)

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 9/15/06

Wednesday, September 13th, 2006

We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories by e-mail to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 338 Third Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215.

To all women, men or children who feel that they are at the end of their ropes, please consider joining a support group, or forming one.

Anyone wishing to make a contribution to help agunot, please send your tax deductible contribution to The Jewish Press Foundation.

Checks must be clearly specified to help agunot. Please make sure to include that information if that is the purpose of your contribution, because this is just one of the many worthwhile causes helped by this foundation.


Dear Rachel,

I am a 36-year-old Italian Jew from Northeast Philadelphia. My occupation is in education. I am Conservative-to-Modern Orthodox religiously. I go to several Orthodox synagogues in my area and have been unable to meet someone. Family and children are very important to me, and at my age (not to sound like a woman) it is time to settle down. I have consulted the local rabbis, and they always tell me I’m not there yet maybe in a few years. By then I’ll be a senior citizen, and it will be too late. I celebrate Shabbat every weekend, try to stay kosher and wear tefillin and tzitzis. I have tried the popular shidduch sites, have been to singles mixers and speed dating – all to no avail.

People in the neighborhood have also set me up with several dates, but they were not compatible. I must say that I do not wish to end up like some of the residents here, who seem happy on the outside but are really not. These are the single, never-marrieds, with no children, in their late 30′s-to-early 50′s.

I would like to start a singles group in the area and need advice on how to do so. This is a great community if you have a family or are married, but seems to offer nothing if you are single.

Thanks again for any advice/help you can give. Also if you know a single woman age 21-35 who is looking for an honest, caring, fun and reliable man, please let me know. Thanks.

Dear Rachel,

I have my MSW (Masters in Social Work) and am in the process of obtaining my licensing soon, G-d Willing. I am always intrigued by the interesting questions and comments you receive. I am a mature (well, for the most part) male single and find myself (as I’m sure many others do) in a constant struggle between my physical drives and my “higher” spiritual side. It gets to the point at times where I’m literally on the brink of insanity, trying to control my evil impulses.

Some time ago, a good friend of mine suggested a book entitled The Light of Ephraim, by Simcha H. Benyosef. I was fascinated by the fact that it actually discusses these problems at length and attempts to give the reader not so much as a solution (G-d Knows the only real solution is to get married and even then, from what I’ve heard, it is still a problem) as much as ideas and suggestions on how to curb one’s physical “appetite.”

While reading the book, I had this idea of forming a discussion forum/group for single, observant men who find themselves experiencing similar challenges. Quite frankly, I personally have tried almost everything else that I could possibly think of, and this is the only idea that I have not yet put to practice.

Essentially, my objective is to have “learning classes” where some guys would meet on a weekly basis for one hour. This time could be divided into about three or more segments that would include an open forum on how we can improve the singles crisis, tips on dating, etc.

Added incentives can include refreshments and speakers. I need some advice, suggestions and (constructive criticism?) as to how to proceed. If anyone is interested in finding out more about this idea or to contribute his own input / suggestions, please send e-mail to Chazak5765@hotmail.com.

Thank you.

Dear Lonely Guys,

Though this column was not designed to act as a bulletin for singles ads, your appeals – and appeal – have won me over. Each of you seems to have something individually unique to offer, and perhaps someone within our wide reading audience has the wherewithal to assist you in realizing your honorable goals.

Your hishtadlus is most praiseworthy, but one mustn’t forget to leave some juggling up to Hashem. Sincere and heartfelt prayer coupled with a genuine emunah in His capability to “pull the strings” will ease your anxieties and make life more serene as you await the telling moment.

To paraphrase a commentary by the devout Satmar Rebbe, R’ Yoel Teitelbaum z”l: The Gemara says that the “pairing of zivugim is as complex as the splitting of the sea.” Why Krias Yam-Suf, one may ask – were there not other miracles that could have been used as a parallel?

We learn from Chazal that the stage was set for Krias Yam-Suf during Sheshes Y’mei Braishis – when Hashem created the world. The sea was given its orders way back then to split at a given moment and not a moment sooner. The first individuals to leap into the waters were submerged up to their necks, for that moment had not yet arrived. But when it did, the waters parted smoothly and effortlessly – a phenomenon that had seemed unlikely to occur just seconds earlier.

Correspondingly, when it comes to a shidduch, one must exercise patience while awaiting the defining, predestined moment. For as with Krias Yam-Suf, when the right moment (for zivugim to come together) presents itself, it is palpably sensed and smooth sailing prevails.

May you both soon set sail on your voyage through life with your intended, with the waters of Torah as your guide!

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/chronicles-of-crises/chronicles-of-crises-in-our-communities-34/2006/09/13/

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