Hashem raised up our spiritual level in an unprecedented manner of “jumping up in levels". This took the nation from the 49th rung of impurity to the highest level of sanctity and preparedness to receive the Torah.
When there is a multiplicity of miracles occurring all at the same time, like the candle lit in a room with floodlights, its brightness is hardly noticeable. The individual miracle has lost its power of influence and is already discounted by human beings.
It is to the credit of Yitro that he chose to act positively upon hearing of the events that occurred to the Jewish people in their exodus from Egypt. He uprooted himself to join the Jewish people in their travels through the desert.
The Amalekites attacked Israel during the lifetime of Moses just once. The Egyptians oppressed the Israelites over an extended period, starting a slow genocide by killing every male Israelite child. The whole thrust of the narrative would suggest that if any nation would become the symbol of evil, it would be Egypt. But the opposite turns out to be true.
Believing & Planting: Beshalach, Emuna, & Tu B'Shvat
The Torah portion of this week, Beshalach, can be called the Portion of Faith. It is filled with tests and trials that the Children of Israel must undergo on their way out of Egypt, and each one increases and strengthens its faith – emuna - in G-d in a different way. Let us list them and possibly see how they each teach a different lesson in faith:
The history of storytelling as an essential part of moral education begins in this week’s parsha. The Israelites are still slaves, Yet already Moses is directing their minds to the far horizon of the future.
After the plague of hail Paroh exclaimed: “I have sinned this time. Hashem is righteous, and I and my nation are the wicked ones” That is quite a change from Paroh’s normal approach, but is it what it seems to be?
A basic precondition for understanding both the situation in which the Israelites found themselves on the eve of the Exodus, and our situation today, is to remember the following words of the Sages: "Like the first redeemer (Moshe), so will be the last redeemer (Mashiach)" (Midrash Kohelet Rabba 1,28). That is, there are basic similarities between our situation in Egypt and ours today, during the final Geula.
It is difficult to understand the attitude in Moshe's statement to Heaven that it had not yet freed the Jewish people from Egyptian bondage. Moshe certainly realized that Heaven was aware of the promises.
for whom were these plagues/miracles done? Was it to bring Egypt to its knees, punishment for the inhuman way they mistreated us during 117 years of slavery? Was it to show Paro who really is boss? Was it to strengthen & energize Bnei Yisrael, after so many years of our being downtrodden?
The Exodus from Egypt was a complex and difficult operation, requiring two goals: 1) Convincing Bnei Yisrael that it was going to occur and getting them to the level at which they would be worthy of it. 2) Convincing Paroh to set the people free or force him to do so.
There were Jews who were willing to cooperate with the governmental authorities in policing the Jewish slave society. Eventually, these Jews also found themselves to be the victims of the Pharaoh and his cruel decree.