by the Reisha Rav, HaGoan Rav Aaron Levine
Elucidated and Adapted by Efraim Levine
Dedicated in Memory of
HaRav HaGaon R' Shmuel Dovid b. Meir Yaakov
Upon his Yarzeit
To Dedicate Please Contact Hadrash Ve-Haiyun
Moshe said to the people, do not be afraid, stand, and see the salvation of Hashem; that which Hashem is doing for you today. (Shemos 14:13)
As the Hebrews fled the Egyptians they complained bitterly to Moshe about their dire predicament. We can ask, how can the Hebrews suddenly complain and lose faith in Hashem after witnessing countless miracles in Egypt? How could they suddenly turn on Moshe and forget how far he took them?
Let us attempt to answer this by reviewing a Rashi in parshas vayeira. As the malach rescued Lot from Sedom the malach warned Lot not to look back and witness Sedom's destruction. Rashi writes that the malach informed Lot that he was no better than the wicked of Sedom and unworthy of being saved. It was only in the merit of his uncle Avraham that he was spared. Therefore, because he was unworthy he did not deserve to witness the destruction of Sedom.
The converse will lead us to conclude that when one is saved from a tragedy due to his own merit, then he does deserve to witness the enemy's downfall and his own salvation.
Using this premise let us suggest the following: the Hebrews were aware of the miracles and destruction brought upon the Egyptians but they were not sure what precipitated these events. They knew that the Egyptians were evil and Hashem wished to punish them just as Hashem punished Sedom. Therefore, they reasoned that what was happening to the Egyptians had nothing to do with the Hebrews. Subconsciously, they accused Moshe of using this opportunity to gain independence for the Hebrews when Hashem had no such plan in mind. However, as long as thing were going well, they went along entertaining the possibility that Moshe was correct and that all that was transpiring was for their benefit. However, when their situation changed for the worse, they panicked and their suspicions took hold of them. They then bitterly complained to Moshe that he was wrong in taking them out of Egypt, this was not part of Hashem's plan. They did not deny the miracles and wonders in Egypt but they felt that Hashem had a different agenda and it was a mistake to leave Egypt.
Moshe thereupon, responded that he was correct. All that had happened and what is yet to happen was for the purpose of the Hebrews. The proof, he said, is that Hashem will allow you to witness the downfall of the Egyptians. If what happened to the Egyptians was just simply a punishment for their evil ways then Hashem would not allow you to witness their downfall. It would be no different then Sedom where Lot was not allowed to look back and witness its destruction.
This now becomes evident in the posuk. Moshe tells the Hebrews to stand and see the salvation of Hashem. Only then will they realize that all that is happening today is for you.
The same message in conveyed later in the parsha. After the yam suf washed up the dead bodies of the Egyptian onto the shore the posuk reads "Yisroel saw the great hand that Hashem did in Egypt; and the people feared Hashem and had faith in Moshe His servant."
This can now be interpreted as follows: after they merited to actually see the downfall of the Egyptians, they realized that all that was done in Egypt was for them not just as a punishment for the Egyptians. In addition, only then did they have full faith in Moshe. Only then did they realize that he was correct all along when he told the Hebrews that the all the events were for their benefit.