Erev Shabbos BeShalach 5781

A gitten erev Shabbos! This week’s parsha is Parshas BeShalach, which means it is Shabbos Shirah (Shabbos of Song). We cross the Yam Suf this week and finally escape Mitzrayim, and we go through the experience of the undrinkable, bitter water being rendered drinkable when Hashem grants Moshe a piece of wood that accomplishes this feat. This parsha also marks the beginning of receiving Mon (manna), which leads to our receiving the first mitzva of Shabbos, that being not to go collect Mon from the fields which we then use to learn out many other mitzvos related to Shmiras Shabbos (keeping Shabbos).

Siddur Masok Midvash brings from the Siddur Rabbi Shabsai that through saying Shiras HaYam, which is one of the main incidences of this parsha, with simcha we can attain complete atonement for our various iniquities. The Zohar in Terumah explains that this specific song is exalted above all other praises to Hashem, which is one of the reasons it is placed so directly to the blessings before Krias Shma. In Zohar BeShalach itself, R’ Chiya teaches that through the Torah, the power of the Chitzonim (Outsiders, forces of the Sitra Achra) are broken, which is alluded to in Shiras HaYam in the posuk “ימינך ה’ נאדרי בכח ימינך ה תרעץ אויב” (Your right hand Hashem is exalted with power, your right hand destroys your enemy). The “enemy” is the reference to the Chitzonim, and the Torah was given with Hashem’s right hand. There is also an idea in sifrei chassidus that we must visualize ourselves as being at the Yam Suf and participating in the crossing the sea while we say Shiras HaYam. Bringing this together we know that through saying Shiras HaYam with great joy and kavana (intent), we can break the powers of the Chitzonim that try to prevent us from serving Hashem properly with simcha uv’tuv levav (joy and goodness of heart).

The entire process of the Mon is quite fascinating, especially considering we use this to learn out various details in halacha, such as hilchos techum, (prohibition of going more than 2000 amos beyond your home on Shabbos) the prohibition of collecting objects and bringing it into your residence on Shabbos, as well as the halacha to have two loaves of bread by each seudah (meal) on Shabbos as a remembrance of the extra Mon we were given every Erev Shabbos. We even learn the halacha for Sof Zman Tefillas Shachris (end of time to daven the morning prayer) from when the Mon would rot and be rendered wormy. It is the bread that descended from Shomayim and sustained us for forty years in the desert. One of the main lessons to learn from Mon is that we have to trust and believe in Hashem, and if you’ll notice the word Mon consists of the main two letters of the word Emunah (מן–אמונה), which alludes to the idea that we must rely entirely on Hashem for our sustenance and not worry. Hashem always has a way to send us our parnassah, even if it seems completely outlandish we’ll always have what we need.

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