Sedra of the Week: Beschalach
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Sedra of the Week: Beschalach

Rabbi Alex Chapper previews this week’s portion of the Torah

“Your call is important to us, please stay on the line …’”

Have you ever heard that infuriatingly upbeat and repetitive message and thought: “Life’s too short for this”? Then in the meantime, you find your own solution to the problem that you called the helpline for in the first place?

With the ten plagues having effected the release of the Children of Israel from slavery in Egypt, they are now free and encamped on the banks of the Reed Sea.

However, when they see the might of the entire Egyptian army heading at full speed towards them, they start to panic and cry out to God in desperation.

They also complain to Moses that it would have been better to remain slaves in Egypt than to die like this in the desert.

For his part, Moses reassures the people there is nothing to be afraid of, because God will save them.

In response, God says to Moses: “Why do you cry out to Me?”

The classic commentaries are perplexed.  Surely, in times of need, prayer is exactly what is required?

Rashi understands that God is telling Moses now is not the time for lengthy prayers, because they are inappropriate when the Jewish people are in distress and all they need to do is continue with their journey, because nothing stands in their way, not even the sea.

God instructs Moshe: “Raise your staff and spread your hand over the sea and split it.”

In effect, Moshe is being told he has all the resources he needs to deal with the situation, rather than divine assistance.

Sometimes we are quick to cry out to God for help. But sometimes realising we possess the ability to resolve a dilemma ourselves actually reflects a deeper faith in God and our abilities that is truly deserving of success.

To paraphrase Kohelet: “There is a time to pray and a time to act.”

Rabbi Alex Chapper is community rabbi of Borehamwood & Elstree Synagogue and the Children’s Rabbi www.childrensrabbi.com

 

Help perform the greatest mitzvah: save a life

While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.

That's why Jewish News, the leading source of news and opinion for the entire UK community, is throwing its full weight behind UNICEF’s VaccinAid campaign by using this platform usually reserved for encouraging donations towards our own journalism to instead urge our readers around the globe to perform the greatest mitzvah: saving a life.

We have never before done this for any charity fundraiser but it's hard to recall a campaign that affects so many people, and indeed an entire planet aching for a return to normality. Just like the Chief Rabbi and Rachel Riley, we hope to boost the mission to deliver two billion vaccines, 165 million treatments and 900 million test kits around the world by the end of this year.

Please donate as much as you can, in the spirit of the Talmudic sages: “to save one life is to save the world entire”

read more:
comments