From the team at Halacha Yomit
(translated by our dear friend Rav Daniel Levy Shlit”a, Leeds UK)
When the Bnei Yisrael left Egypt and the Egyptians pursued them, with the sea in front of them, a tremendous miracle occurred, which is known throughout the generations of our people. This happened on the seventh day of Pesach. It is particularly auspicious due to the miracles and wonders that Hashem performed for our people at the time of exiting Egypt. It is well-known that the Yam Suf split in two, and further miracles occurred when all the waters in the world split in two. Through this, the miracle that Hashem performed for our people was publicised worldwide. All nations were in total awe of the Bnei Yisrael for they knew that everything was from Hashem the King of the world who guards them and shields them, thereby destroying anyone who dares fight them.
It is commonly argued by people that if Hashem performed miracles for us, as He did for our fathers by the Yam Suf, then for sure it would be very easy for us to believe in Hashem with great devotion and to meticulously observe His mitzvot. However, this is incorrect for many reasons and we will explore just some of them.
First Hashem isn’t going to perform miracles for each person in every generation. This isn’t because He can’t but because there simply is no need and as a rule Hashem doesn’t want His world to run on miracles [but rather in its “natural” state].
In truth, it is a complete mistake to think that Hashem doesn’t perform miracles for us in these generations, for there is no day that goes by when Hashem doesn’t perform miracles for us. As we say each day in the beracha of Modim (in the Amida) “and Your miracles that are with us each day”. Since in truth, each and every moment Hashem performs for us great miracles, but we become accustomed to them we don’t notice them as much. We end up thinking that this is “just the way of the world” and “nature”, to the extent that we no longer feel that Hashem is literally performing miracles for us. There is no doubt, that if we were to see every day, angels feeding Jewish children with honey and milk (as happened in Egypt), we too wouldn’t recognise this as a miracle, and we would call it “nature”. There is no doubt whatsoever that this would be the case. (A proof for this is that amongst the heretical Jews and the non-believing nations, that see more than others Hashem’s wonders in creation, they more than others, deny His involvement in creation! Take for example the heretical theories which were developed in the last couple of centuries, this all emanated from scientist that knew in great detail the wonders of Hashem’s creation. The incredible process of a baby’s conception, the chromosomes and genetic make-up, the entire food-chain and the complex eco-system, the growth of vegetation etc. and despite this, they didn’t hesitate to state that everything was generated from a “big bang” that created in a shocking fashion the entire creation, or through various morphed process of evolution and similar ideas. Even though these are utterly crazy ideas, that there is no Creator with a clear design for all the wondrous structures of the world, nevertheless they chose to follow these routes.)
It is already stated “no person shall see me and live” (Shemot 33:20), this means that Hashem’s running of the world is “wrapped” as it were with many layers. The wrapping is called “nature”, because we also call miracles “nature”. Because if Hashem’s running of the world was openly revealed, then Hashem’s Shechina would be in full view, which is impossible to sustain in a constant fashion, and especially in our generations where Hashem’s Presence is somewhat concealed from us, and His running of the world is not so discernible to someone who doesn’t want to see it. And so someone who doesn’t want to believe in Hashem’s Divine Providence and the miracles that are with us every day and wishes to explain everything as “nature”, is able to do so. This is the test from Hashem and what He seeks from us [to grow and develop], whilst He wants us to believe in Him and His Divine Providence [whilst it is somewhat concealed].
Likewise in Egypt, when the Egyptians were smitten with the Ten Plagues, they had all sorts of explanations, to explain everything as a way of “nature”. They said that sometimes the Nile appears red with blood, due to changes with the water. When the plague of frogs smote them they said sometimes there are these natural phenomena and a surge in offspring of particular species. And similarly with the plague of lice and pestilence and so on.
Only when the Bnei Yisrael reached the Yam Suf, and all saw Hashem’s miracles clearly, they believed that everything that happened to them until now was likewise from Hashem and they said that this is the same Being that performed the miracles in Egypt. As the passuk categorically states: “Let us flee from Yisrael! Hashem is fighting for them against Egypt!” [lit. in Egypt] (Shemot 14:25). It doesn’t say “Hashem fought for them at the Yam Suf” [because now, through the revelation at the Yam Suf, it became apparent that it was Hashem who all along had fought them in Egypt, just like He performed miracles from them here at the sea].
This implies that the miracles that happened in Egypt could also be explained with types of excuses, but now we see that everything is from Hashem.
Hashem showed us His wondrous hand in that generation, and we his children, pass the baton that was relayed to us then from generation to generation, from father to son, mother to daughter and from teachers to pupils. With this, we will remember our exodus from Egypt and the miracles which Hashem wrought for us. We will acknowledge His Divine Providence and we will be fit to repent and tangibly see the miracles that He is going to perform in the future, at the time He comes to redeem us, an eternal redemption.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach, may you merit to many pleasant and good years!