More on the Price of Disunity
Last week, we introduced the idea that the lack of full cooperation between Yosef and Yehuda prevented the early Exodus from Egypt. We continue with this basic theme this week. Chazal (see Sota 36b) tell us that at the critical moment, right before the splitting of the Sea, the various tribes were in competitive mode. Rabbi Meir relates the following, based on his understanding of Tehillim 68:28. When Bnei Yisrael stood by the sea, each tribe claimed that they were going to jump in first. The Tribe of Binyamin went in first, and the Tribe of Yehuda stoned them. That is why Binyamin merited hosting the Divine Presence in the Beit Hamikdash. Rabbi Yehuda had a different version. Each tribe was trying to avoid going in. Since Nachshon, head of the Tribe of Yehuda, was the first, they merited having dominion in Israel, as it says: “Yehuda was for His holiness, Israel was for His kingdom” (Tehillim 114:2). Why did Yehuda have this kingdom? Because the “sea saw and fled” (ibid. 3).