26/27 Jan: Shabbat Beshalach comes in 4:24 pm, goes out 5:31 pm
Parashat Beshallach focuses on G-d’s redemption of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, the splitting and crossing of the Red (or more properly Reed) Sea, and the destruction of Pharaoh’s army. But only a handful of verses, and a few days later, the Israelites are already complaining about the water, the food, and wishing they could return to Egypt.
The encounter between an enslaved people, who were not used to thinking even as far ahead as tomorrow, and a G-d whose outlook is infinity was full of difficulties. Miracles, like meat, are marvellous at the moment at which they occur, but their flavour soon vanishes into fading memory as new problems arise. It requires real work for miracles to become satisfying over the longer term. Developing satisfaction with and appreciation of a free existence in relationship with G-d will be the real miracle of the Israelites’ forty-year journey.
Written by Rabbi Paul Arberman.