Shabbat Morning Class - Parasha Beshalah
Rabbi Mansour 2011
Shabbat Morning Class
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In this week’s Parasha we read about perhaps the greatest miracle of all time;
the splitting of the sea. The Jewish people actually entered the sea, and emerged on
the same side. Their route was like a semi circle. They initially thought that the
Egyptians who were pursuing them would also emerge unharmed and continue to
chase them. However the ocean began to "spit out" the dead bodies of the Egyptians,
and it was only then that the Jews were convinced that they were indeed saved.
The Gemarah Pesahim 118 quotes Rav Huna who says that the Jews of that
generation were " ???? ???? "(men of "little faith") they thought that just as they walked
on dry land, the Egyptians would do the same and they too would soon emerge from
the ocean. Hashem commanded the minister of the sea (the angel in charge of the
sea) to "spit them out onto the shore". The sea responded "does a master give a
servant a present only to take it back?!" (This was considered a present to the sea
because the bodies provided plenty of food for the fish to eat). Hashem answered "I
will give you one and a half times as much in return". The sea responded "can there be
a servant who demands payment from his master!" (The sea could not demand
payment from Hashem so it requested a guarantor). Hashem said "the Kishon River
will be your guarantor. Immediately the sea spit out the bodies, and the Jews rejoiced
as the Pasuk says; " ???? ????? ?? ????? ?? ?? ??? ??? "-"the Jews saw the Egyptians
dead on the sea shore".
The Egyptians chased the Jews with 600 chariots. In the times of Sisrah, they
chased the Jewish people with 900 chariots. The ground under the feet of the horses
became boiling hot, and started to burn the hooves of the horses. They ran into the
nearby Kishon River to cool their feet, thereby drowning the riders of the 900 chariots.
Hashem said to the river (the guarantor of the ocean), "go pay your guarantee".
Immediately the river threw the bodies into the ocean (all rivers lead into the ocean). At
that time the fish of the sea realized it was exactly 900 chariots of people, and they
cried out " ???? ?' ????? ?????-? "-"Hashem is true forever Hallelujah". They testified to
the fact that Hashem was true to his word, and repaid exactly one and a half times the
600 chariots with the 900 chariots that had just drowned.
We see from this Gemarah that the fish were the ones who attested to the
integrity of Hashem in fully keeping his promises to the last detail. It is for this reason
that we eat fish on Shabbat. The Gemarah Shabbat 118b brings fish as the primary
example of honoring the Shabbat. Why does this quality of fish (in that it reminds us of
Hashem keeping his promises) cause us to partake of them every Shabbat??
The Gemarah in Beitzah Daf 16A says that the amount of money that a person
will earn from Rosh Hashanah to Rosh Hashanah (the entire year) is fixed, except for
what he spends on Shabbat, Yom Tob, and Torah education for his children. The more
he spends on those items - the more he is given. Hacham Baruch would teach a hint to
this. He said: "from Tishrei until Tishrei is fixed except for Tishrei". Tishrei is the month
of Rosh Hashanah. The Rabbi was saying that from Rosh Hashanah to Rosh
Hashanah the money you will make is fixed, except for what you spend on Tishrei. The
word " ???? " stands for ????? ????, ???, ??? ????, ??? ??? . The Rabbi included Rosh
Hodesh, and said that whatever we spend on these four will be repaid in full by
Hashem goes so far as to say " ??? ??? ???? ???? "-"borrow on my account and I will
repay". Normally we are encouraged not to borrow, but in the case of a man who wants
to borrow for his Shabbat needs Hashem says "don’t worry", borrow and I will give it
back to you.
This concept is hinted in a Pasuk in ???? Perek 34 Pasuk 11 says: "?? ??? ???
???? ??" -"a man will get paid according to his work". The word " ??? " can also be spelled
with a ' ???? .(????) ? stands for " ??? ??? ???? ???? " (borrow on my account and I will repay),
and the Pasuk finishes " ???? ?? "-"he will be repaid". Hashem will repay him for what he
borrowed to honor the holy Shabbat. How do we know the Pasuk refers to Shabbat?
The holiness of Shabbat sets in at midday on Friday (six hours before the onset of
Shabbat), and it remains until midnight after Shabbat (six hours after Shabbat has
ended. This is why when reciting the ????? ??? ?? ???? on Saturday night we omit ?????
if it is before midnight). Thus, the total amount of hours that we have the holiness of
Shabbat is 36. 24 hours of Shabbat itself, plus the 6 hours before, and the 6 hours
after, total 36. The Pasuk says " ???? ?? ", the numerical value of the word ?? is 36.
Showing that it is regarding Shabbat that the Pasuk is hinting we will be repaid in full.
This is why we begin our Shabbat meal with fish. When a man sits down, and
begins to contemplate how much the meal his wife prepared just cost him, we bring out
the fish. They serve as a reminder to Hashem’s being true to his word to repay a
person in full! The fish thus soothes the man, and reminds him that he will be fully
repaid for all that he spent to honor the !??? ????
There is an additional connection to the fish’s declaration of - "???? ?' ????? ?????
?" and the eating of fish on Shabbat. It may be a bit lofty for our understanding, but in
the Zechut of the Rashash (Rabbi Shalom Sharabi) Zechuto Yagen Aleinu, whose
Yahrzeit is today the tenth of Shevat we should merit understanding it.
The Jewish people were faced with a terrifying dilemma. The Egyptians were
behind them, and the sea was in front of them. They began to cry out to Hashem.
Hashem responded to Moshe " -"????? ?' ?? ???: ?? ???? ??? ??? ?? ??? ????? ?????
"Hashem said to Moshe why are you crying out to me - tell the Jews to travel!" We
were always taught that we must pray to Hashem, especially in our most difficult
moments. How we to understand what Hashem was asking Moshe "why are you crying
out to me", what else are we supposed to be doing?!
In order to begin to gain an understanding in what Hashem’s message was to
Moshe, we must know the level the Jews were on at that moment, and on what tier
they were connecting to Hashem.
Hashem is the energy source, and at the different times that we serve him, we
attach ourselves to him at different levels of spiritual "voltage". For example, on
Shabbat we are on a high level of spiritual voltage, and we thereby connect to Hashem
in a more full extent then during the weekday. Even during the Shabbat itself, the level
of spiritual energy increase until it peaks at a time called " ???? ?????? " which is attained
at Minhah of Shabbat afternoon (this is why some Sadikim make sure to pray Minha
Gedolah [early Minhah] on Shabbat afternoon, in order to prolong the experience at
this maximum spiritual energy level).
At the time of the splitting of the sea, Hashem in his kindness revealed himself to
the Jews on this super high level of "spiritual voltage". This highest level is what the
Zohar refers to as " ???? ????? " (or Keter). There are various filters or Midot that Hashem
reveals his light through. The highest level is this level called "Keter". It is the level
where Hashem himself is found, and this level is full of Hashem’s unbridled kindness
without any judgment at all mixed in (these are obviously very deep and esoteric
concepts, and the terminology being used throughout is only so we can gain a small
measure of understanding as to how this works). The Keter is compared to the crown
of Hashem. Just like the highest point on a mortal king is his crown, so to ?????? the
highest point of spirituality and connection to Hashem is on this level of Keter.
This level is normally "off limits" to us, and we almost never experience it (the only time
we experience the holiness of Keter is on Shabbat afternoon after Minha as
The Jewish people at the moment of the splitting of the sea were attached to
Hashem on the highest spiritual levels, and were connecting to Hashem through the
level of Keter! This is why Hashem said to Moshe ?? ???? ??? ""-"why do they cry out to
me! They are connecting to me through the level of Keter where it’s all kindness!
The Keter-crown of Hashem consists of 13 attributes. These are referred to as
the "13 attributes of mercy". We know them as the 13 attributes that we read in the
morning Tefilah when we say; " ?? ?? ???? " and proceed to list 13 attributes. We also
read thirteen attributes in the ????? that we say in ????? . The seventh attribute of the 13 is
??? -truth. We read: 1) ? -?- 2) ???? - 3) ?????- 4) ???- 5) ???? - 6) ?? ???- 7) ????
There are 6 attributes before ??? , and 6 attributes after it. This is hinted in the letter ' ?
of ???? . The ' ? is spelled ?' .??? is numerically 6. The ' ? which stands for ??? has a ' ?
before it and a ' ? after it symbolizing the attribute of ??? which has 6 attributes before it,
and 6 after it.
On the human body the various body parts correspond to the various attributes of
Hashem. The head corresponds to the level of Keter. The Zohar says that there are 13
points on the face that correspond to the 13 attributes of Hashem (the hair of the face
stands for mercy as it corresponds to the Keter which is full of mercy. This is why at
moments of judgment; we are required to let our beards grow in order to counteract the
Dinim. For example; someone who is mourning ?? ????? is required to let their beard
grow, since he has just experienced great judgment. During Sefirat Haomer, when the
24,000 students of R’ Akivah died is a time of judgment, and we let our beards grow.
The hair of the head however, stands for Dinim- judgement and it is therefore
recommended to keep it short). We mention these 13 attributes - and there
corresponding points on the face – during the Tashlich prayer of Rosh Hashana.
The seventh point on the face is the point just above the beard where the cheeks
protrude. This is the point that corresponds to the seventh attribute- ??? . The Zohar
calls this point on the face; ?????? (literally apples)- the protrusion on the face by the
cheeks actually somewhat resembles an apple.
The ??? ????? says that the seventh attribute of Hashem is ??? , and it
corresponds to the seventh day of the week, the Shabbat. This is why some Sadikim
recommend eating apples on Shabbat. The apple is the seventh point on the face, and
corresponds to the seventh attribute of Hashem ( ??? ), which corresponds to the
seventh day of the week ( ??? ). This is why we refer to the meal of Shabbat (as we
read on Friday night) " ?? ??? ?????? ???? ?????? ?????? "-"this is the meal of the "holy
This connection between ??? , and ??? explains the Gemarah in Yerushalmi
that says; that even though normally an ?? ???? may not be trusted when serving food
that he claims he already tithed, on Shabbat we do believe the ?? ???? when he tells
us he has properly tithed his produce, and the food he is serving may be eaten. This is
because Shabbat is synonymous with ??? -truth, and on this day we believe that even
the ?? ???? is not lying. Even common people today say "I would never lie on
Shabbat!" Shabbat and ??? go hand in hand.
The word ??? , besides for meaning truth, also has another, deeper connection.
There are 3 Pesukim in this Parasha (chapter 14 Pesukim 19,20,21) that each
contain 72 letters. In these three Pesukim there are 72 different combinations of three
letter names of Hashem. These names are formed by taking the first letter of the first
Pasuk, the last letter of the second Pasuk, and the first letter of the third Pasuk. The
same goes with the second letter. We take the second letter of the first Pasuk, the
second to last letter of the second Pasuk, and the second letter of the third Pasuk and
so on for all 72 letters (for example; the first letter of the first Pasuk is the ' ? of the word
???? , the last letter of the second Pasuk is the ' ? of ????? and the first letter of the third
Pasuk is the ' ? of ??? . This spells ? -?-? and it is a holy name of Hashem). The fifth
combination forms the name ?-?-? (the ? of ???? , the ? of ????? and the ? of ,(???
this holy name is the name that when contemplated, saves us from various plagues.
We see this in Bamidbar Perek 17 Pasuk 11, during a plague that was ravaging the
Jews, Moshe instructed Aharon to atone for the Jews with the Ketoret in order to stop
the plague. The Pasuk says " ????? ??? ?? ????? " (lit. and Moshe said to Aharon). We
now understand the deeper meaning of the Pasuk, ??? was telling Aharon the name
of Hashem of ?-?-? , which when rearranged spells ??? , in order to stop the plague.
????? ??? ?? ?????" " - he was giving him the secret of the name ?-?-? in order to stop
How does the contemplation of ?-? -? work to stop a plague? It’s not just the
simple thinking of these letters; it is knowing how to think them. These letters have to
be "opened up", we need to spell each letter. ' ? is ?' ?? is ?? and ' ? is ??? . The total
numerical value of ?? ?? ??? equals 446. This is the same Gematriyah as the word -???
Why would we want to equal ??? -isn’t that exactly what we are trying to avoid?!
The explanation is that we must insert a letter into this name. The letter that represents
Hashem is the letter ' ? (since Hashem is one). When we add a ' ? to ??? we show that
we remember that the plague is from Hashem and this helps stop it. The letter ?
together with the word ??? form the word ???? . The word ???? now represents the
complete Kavanah (intent), that one must have of the name ?-?-? in order to be saved
from impending danger. (It represents the "opening up" of the letters ?-?-? that equal
??? , plus the ' ? representing Hashem).
It was this that Hashem was teaching Moshe at the moment when he told him
?? ???? ???" " ("why do you cry out to me"). The Pasuk begins " ????? ?' ?? ??? " (lit.
"Hashem said to Moshe") Hashem said to ??? ,??? stand for the letters ?-?-? . The
Pasuk continues: " ?? ???? ??? " The first letters of these words spell ??? . Hashem was
teaching Moshe the Kavanah of ?-?-? and the way to activate it through .???
The Jewish people at that time were in great need of a salvation to be saved
from there impending annihilation. The Zohar explains that the Jews at that time faced
trouble from all sides, the waves of the ocean were raging in front of them, behind
them was the Egyptian army approaching, even above in the heavens there were
angels persecuting against them. There was no greater need for this holy name of
?-?-? (represented by ???? ) than now! Hashem gave the secret of this name to
Moshe, the sea split, and the Jews were saved. The only problem was, they didn’t
know they were saved!! As mentioned above, the Jews thought that the Egyptians
would emerge right behind them to attack! It was only until the sea spit out the bodies
of the Egyptians onto the shore that the Jews realized they were saved. This is why the
fish declared ???? ?' ????? ?????-? . The fish were the ones who notified the Jews that
there Kavanah of ???? was indeed successful! They were saved from the impending
disaster, and were now finally free to serve Hashem.
When we put all this together, we understood another reason why we eat fish on
Shabbat. The fish notified the Jews that there Kavanah of ???? had succeeded.
Therefore fish stand for ??? . The seventh attribute of Hashem is ???? (notice how in
the ????? it says " ?? ??? ???? " with the ' ?). The seventh day (which as mentioned above
connects with the attribute of ??? ) is Shabbat. Shabbat is associated with ??? , and the
fish too are associated with ??? . The numerical value of ?? (fish) is 7. This stands for
the Seventh attribute of Hashem – ??? , and also stands for the seventh day –
Shabbat. It is therefore appropriate to enjoy fish that stand for ??? , on Shabbat which
also stands for ??? . (It also says that the word ???? [fish] stands for ?? ?????? ????? -the
13 paths of mercy actually hinting to all 13 attributes of mercy of Hashem).
This is why many Pesukim that discuss Shabbat say ??? ?????? ????? ("a
remembrance of the exodus from Egypt"). What does Shabbat have to do with the
exodus?! We now understand that the Shabbat represents ??? , and the final stage of
the exodus of Egypt was accomplished with ???? . They are therefore linked in this
From all this we are able to get a small glimpse into how deep and wondrous our
Torah is! There are connections, and meanings to the most seemingly simple actions.
Shabbat, Keter, the Face, Truth, Apples, Fish, Cheeks, the Exodus, 13 Attributes of
Mercy, All Amazingly Linked!! How lucky are we to be given this treasure of the Torah!
Let us appreciate it, and study it.
Let us honor the holy Shabbat to the best of our ability. We should buy the best
food and drink, Hashem says it’s on him!! By honoring the Shabbat all our needs
become taken care of, as the Pasuk in Tehilim chapter 37 says: "?????? ?? ?' ???? ??
?????? ???" -"enjoy "on Hashem" (on his account) and he will fulfill all the desires of
your heart". May we merit properly honoring and appreciating the holy Torah and
Shabbat Kodesh Amen!