Wednesday, February 15, 2017

OU TORAH YU TORAH and NAALEH.COM Silencing the Supplicant By Shira Smiles

Summary by Channie Koplowitz Stein Parshat Beshalach continues the saga of Bnei Yisroel’s escape from Egypt. After Bnei Yisroel left, the Egyptians chased after them, eventually trapping Bnei Yisroel between the Egyptian forces behind them and the Red Sea blocking their advance in front of them. As they had done before, and as they would do many more times in the desert, Bnei Yisroel, fearing imminent death, called out to Moshe. In response, Moshe joined in their prayers and reassured them of Hashem’s salvation. Hashem’s response to these prayers is enigmatic. Instead of replying, “I am listening to your prayers,” Hashem cuts Moshe off abruptly, replying instead, “Why do you cry out to Me? Speak to the children of Israel and let them journey forth! And you lift up your staff and stretch out your arm over the sea and split it; and Bnei Yisroel shall come into the midst of the sea on dry land…” Considering that Hashem heard the cries of Bnei Yisroel and was moved to redeem them, it is puzzling that Hashem now stops Moshe and Bnei Yisroel from crying out to Him. How are we to understand this seeming change in protocol, this silencing of our supplications, especially since, as the Ner Uziel notes, prayer is appropriate in every situation especially in times of distress?

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