Photo Credit: Asher Schwartz

וישאו בני ישראל את עיניהם והנה מצרים נוסע אחריהם וייראו מאד ויצעקו בני ישראל אל ה’
(שמות יד:י)

The Avnei Nezer can’t understand why the Israelites, who just witnessed the slaying of the firstborn, would be afraid of mere mortals. Surely, Hashem can deal with the Egyptians in the desert as adeptly as He did back home. Rashi already noted that the usage of נסע, singular, as opposed to נוסעים, plural, connotes “Achdut” of the Egyptians בלב אחד כאיש אחד.


He explains that unity usually expresses holiness, while division is the sign of “sitra achra”. Perhaps the Egyptians succeeded somehow to achieve a threatening level of Kedusha.

From Targum Yerushalmi one may get the impression that the Israelites weren’t sufficiently unified at the banks of Yam Suf: There were 4 groups, one said to jump into the river, while the second wanted to fight. Another wanted to return to Egypt while the others wanted to shout and confuse. Moshe dealt successfully with each group, as the Targum continues, and was able to unify them under the banner of התיצבו וראו את ישועת ה’.

The Achdut of Bnei Yisrael will continue to remain crucial next week, as we approach Matan Torahכאיש אחד בלב אחד.

Shabbat Shalom

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Rav Korn is a senior Rabbi at Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh