Interfaith Parsha - Be-shallah


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I guess I'm going to start this parsha because bandit isn't feeling too well .... I'm afraid that I won't be too good at this, but I will try my best ....

This parsha is certainly one of the better known ones ... Pharoah lets the people go by way of the wilderness at the Sea of Reeds (I'm loving these symbols but will refrain from going into my brain thing right now) .... Moses carries the bones of Joseph (I don't think this is well known).... and we have G!d appearing in a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day .... and then of course, one of the most famous scenes .... the parting of the red sea ....

there is also a song to be sung (but I don't know if the song was sung before enter the sea or during or after???)

after departing from the Sea of Reeds (is this another name for the Red Sea?)
the people could not find sweet water (only bitter) and Moses threw a piece of wood into the water to make it sweet (with directions from G!d of course)

then we have the people arriving at a place called Elim where there are twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees (two important numbers) ....

for food (because the people are grumbling about being hungry) and bread (a fine and flaky substance) fell from the sky and later they called it manna and ate it for forty years ....

so we have lots of miracles and probably a prophecy here and there .... but what does it all really mean ....

I usually receive weekly a parsha overview by Rabbi Noson Weisz who presents a philosophical and kabbalistic perspective (and you know I really like the kabbalistic perspective) .... and I love these two quotes:

"Raba bar Chana said in the name of R'Yochonon: It is as difficult to match them (two people in marriage) as the splitting of the sea .... (Talmud, Sotah 2a)"

"R'Shizvi said in the name of R'Elazar the son of Azariah: It is as difficult to provide people with the necessities of life as it was to split the sea; as it is written, (in Psalms 136): "He provides bread to all flesh ..." And an adjacent verse reads: "He divides the sea into sections ...." (Talmud, Pesachim 118a)"

and Rabbi Weisz asks the question .... what does the splitting of the sea have in common with matchmakeing or providing people with a living? ....

Rabbi Weisz also states that actually the Israelites were not clearly deserving of such a great miracle as the splitting of the sea because the moral difference between them and the Egyptians was not sufficiently marked to justify saving one while drowning another .... so it was not really a moral issue and answer .... he says "it is not moral merit that brings miracles; it is emuna, or belief in G!d. The sea can only split for a people who can believe that it will split before they see it happen. Miracles require the human power or emuna or faith."

and the song (Rabbi Weisz states "how does one go about instilling a belief in infinite possibilities into the mind of an idol worshipper? The Torah gives us a hint in Exodus 15:1 .... the verb "to sing" is spelled as yashir, which is the way to write the verb in the future tense acording to the rules of Hebrew grammar. Taken literally, the text says that Moses and the children of Israel will sing this song in the future." It is a song of resurrection ....

now back to the first question, what does the parting of the sea have to do with matchmaking or earning a living .... Rabbi Weisz says that a Jewish spouse is not someone you live with for a few years as long as it is pleasant or convenient .... he or she is an integral part of the same whole as you and you and your spouse are parts of a single soul .... we think we know what attracks us to another, but these are not usually the things that make the marriage survive through eternity .... it takes faith to appreciate the reality of a jewish marriage (which will survive forever because G!d made the match in advance) and one needs emuna to be able to see their own marriage in this eternal light. also to earn a living takes a great deal of effort and judaism teaches no amount of effort can enable a person to get hold of a single farthing more than G!d alloted him or that was intended for someone else .... even if one immerses himself totally in his labors, he must believe that his intense striving has no bearing on the outcome. "To the extent that he internalizes this lesson, a jew is rescued from the temptation to work the sort of hours that leave him with insufficient free time to learn a bit of Torah or to attend prayers in his synagogue, or to remain in close touch with his wife and children." We live in a time in which divorces are easy and frequent and we live in a time when people forget to have a balance in their lives for both work and family and other aspects of life .... we need balance,we need faith .... the parting of the sea required absolute faith because the israelites had to actually enter the sea before it parted .... they did not wait on the shore to see if it would in fact part, they had to have faith and enter with the belief that it would part .... how much faith do we today really have, we say we have it ....but for many faith is only words and not action .... so perhaps the great lesson of this parsha is that we must "walk our talk" .....

I'm very interested to hear some christian views of the parting of the sea and its meaning .... and what would a buddhist have to say about possible meanings .... or a druid .... to enter the sea, in my point of view, requires the same amount of faith and belief to enter the holy of holies .... aloha nui, poh
one thing i always liked about this parsha is the way the cloud that stood before them moved behind them & kept the egyptian army from attacking them. so that leads me to believe in so many ways that not only does the the Lord lead in front of us but He also has our backs covered.

it seems like this all started at night & they passed through the sea at night & it was in the morning that israel made it to dry land. that is when the waters rolled back & stopped the army from continuing after them.
i see this parallel where night would be trials & uncertainty and in the morning we see where we have traveled & advanced through perplexed situations, not always knowing the outcome for sure.

this manna that fell every day was like a flakey wafer substance & tasted sweet like honey. only lasted for one day & the next day it would turn into worms. except for shabat they were supposed to collect enough for two days. it was kind of goofy to me because they went looking for manna on the 7th day & there was never any. they were probably bored & i think this was testing the Lord & we are not supposed to test Him in that way.

i see the children of israel testing God again at the rock where water came forth because they named it Massah U'Merivah ("Test and Strife").

so there was doubt. only natural at times for some people. so like you say POH, we have to walk the talk & talk the walk:) .

27 And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.

i never noticed this before. so i am wondering if they just counted these palm trees because they were bored or not sure what the meaning of that is. why 70 palm trees? LOL

.1 ¶ Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.

so they sang a song. i think my favorite part of the song is when they sing about the nostrils of God parting back the water as they go on dry land & then putting the water back. it is like God breathing & shows how big his nose is in the winds. not a literal nose but if God was a man that is how big His nose would be & His tremendous strength.
& then the women sing a song also, dancing & playing the tambourine.

so my nose is very clogged right now with sinus & sneezing & coughing, Pohaikawahine.
a lot to consider in this parsha & will put some more of what i see soon.:)

pohaikawahine said:
Moses carries the bones of Joseph (I don't think this is well known)....

i was reading that & Joseph made the brothers swear to carry him out of egypt.
but what does that mean when you take his bones from his burial & carry the bones from bondage to freedom (Canan Land).
i read what rashi was saying but i am thinking there is more to that where israel was to see that the dead bones being carried resemble the bondage of of spirit in these bodies & the freedom when our spirits are resurrected (going from earth to glory). just my own little thought there.

Moses took Joseph's bones with him, for he [Joseph] had adjured the sons of Israel, saying, God will surely remember you, and you shall bring up my bones from here with you

when you track it back to Genises 50
And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father: and the physicians embalmed Israel.
where Jacob is called Israel... israel would probably be dead if it were not for Joseph.:)
but Jacob was taken to Canaan & buried there right away.

50:25 And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.


One other thing at the end there. when they are fighting with Amelek.
it mentions how Moses arms got tired of holding them up through faith. his arms would go up & israel would start winning. they went down and Amelek started winning.

Moses sat on a stone during this, instead fo a pillow {because the israelites were in pain so he was going to be in pain with them}

& Aron & Hur held his arms up for him so they would keep winning. that is just too wild for me.:)
Here is an interesting statement by Rabbi Weisz, Aish HaTorah, Jerusalem, in his weekly torah portion called "worlds within worlds" on Shmot (Exodus 1:1-6:1) that has a bearing on the whole book of exodus ...

"according to Nachamandes, by telling Moses that His name is "I shall Be As I Shall Be, " G-d sent a message to the Jewish people that the Exodus will not occur on the level of ELOHIM; the Exodus does not belong to the natural world. It would be directed by the manifestation of G-d known as YHVH, and its events would unfold on a plane of existence that is normally concealed by the surface working of the natural world."

he goes on to state the "a Jewish nation does not fit into the reality under which the natural world is organized, the system that is the manifestation of the Divine character traits referred by the name ELOHIM. In this natural system there are seventy nations,and Israel is not one of them. Jews had no homeland assigned to them at the time of the great dispersal of humanity described in the Tower of Babel story (Genesis 11) when the world was split into seventy parts corresponding to the seventy nations." There were angels to administer the affairs of these nations but there was no angel appointed to watch ove the affairs of the Jewish people. G-d himself accepted responsibility over the direction of their affairs. "because the Jewish people had no place as a separate entity in the reality of the natural world .... before they could be emancipated, G-d established a new sort of connection with the world, and it is within the new world order established under this new connection that Israel would find its place under the sun. The new connection is called YHVH, and an entirely novel sort of miracle would serve as the means of its inauguration."""

There are, per the article, two types of miracles, nisim nistorim "hidden miracles" and nisim gluim "open miracles"

what I'm thinking about is that this description of hidden miracles and the description of the book of exodus as taking place on a different plane of reality could just as easily speak to the inner meaning of the book and the miracles described .... it could just as well be a description of what takes place in the inner body with the movement of the spiralling energy and the revelation or vision that takes place when the energy bridges the hemispheres of the brain would be the hidden miracle .... in my point of view all the messages keep telling us three things .... who we were, who we really are, and who we will be .... they are all reminders of the hidden miracle of our body and our brains and our place in the world .... if in the beginning there was no homeland established for the Jewish people and through the torah (especially the oral torah) we learn that there is a promised land and we will find it after going through the hidden miracles described in exodus .... it is the place we all seek as human beings and the torah leads us to it when we learn how to interpret the symbols and how to see the "world within worlds" .... that is where the Zohar returns, it also helps us to find our way through the symbols .... just my thought to share as we journey through the wilderness to find our way home ..... he hawai'i au, poh
real nice commentary, pohaikawahine:) .

i have to agree with the WORLD WITHIN WORLDS analogy. you mentioned the 12 tribes & 70 nations & that makes a lot fo sense to me now as to why there would be 12 springs of water & 70 palm trees that they come across after crossing the red sea.

i have to also agree with the different planes of reality & types of miracles. cant really explain that too well as of yet, though i feel as if i have experienced it in many ways. exodus & the Torah really brings all that into the spotlight.