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           flowersBeshalach

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In Parshas Beshalach we find the B'nei Yisrael crossing the Yam Suf miraculously and turning back to watch the Egyptians drowning in the very same waters the Jews had just passed through. Moshe and B'nei Yisrael say the Az Yashir, the song describing all Hashem's miracles in saving the Jews and destroying the Egyptians. Then the chumash tells us that Miriam the prophetess, sister of Aharon, took the tof, a musical instrument, and went out with all the women and their instruments. Recall that Miriam prophesized while she was only Aharon's sister that her mother would give birth to a boy who would save the Jews. All the women at that time also reached the level of prophecy by witnessing Hashem's great miracles on the Yam Suf. As it says, "a maidservant on the Yam saw more than Yechezkel ben Buzzi saw in his prophecy." But Kli Yakar says that since prophecy can only come when one is happy, and women have travail of childbirth, they took up the instruments in order to be joyous and experience Hashem's prophecy. Rashi explains that the righteous women in the generation had faith that Hashem would save them and prepared for this instruments which they took with them out of Mitzraim. Some say that while others were picking up the jewels that washed up from the Egyptian army on the shores of Yam Suf, the women picked up the drums (i.e. the war drums the army carries). The women covered up the sounds of their singing voices by beating on the drums. They were not carried away by the great jubilation and excitement of the moment of salvation. They preserved their modesty and made arrangements to sing and rejoice within the confines of Jewish law. I once heard a similar idea (perhaps from Harav Dunner, but I can't be sure) about the wife of Ohn ben Pelet. Ohn ben Pelet was about to join the rebellion of Korach against Moshe. He was swept up in the moment and would have joined the charismatic but wicked Korach. But his wife was able to restrain herself and see that it was just a passing movement that had no intrinsic value and she dissuaded him from joining. His wife held a rational and calm outlook. This idea was said over with regard to wearing the latest exciting fashions in dress that may not always be in accordance with Jewish law. The Jewish woman has the inner strength not to be swept away by the tide.

Miriam answered the women and said "Sing to Hashem for He is highly exalted ; the horse and his rider He has thrown to the sea." Ksav Sofer explains that when the Jews do the will of Hashem and are righteous, they are deserving of Hashem's salvation from their enemies as a matter of course. But if we are not meritorious then it is Hashem's kindness that He saves us not according to the strict attribute of justice. Those that were righteous and deserving to leave Mitzraim need praise Hashem only for destroying the Egyptians, which was more than the necessary taking them out of Egypt. Back to Parshas Beshalach. The men sang to Hashem for the double miracles, that of saving the them from Egypt which was only Hashem's kindness and not their merit, and also that of destroying the Egyptians. But Miriam and the women who were righteous (as it says, in the merit of righteous women were the Jews taken out of Egypt) sang only about the destruction of the Egyptians ("horse and rider thrown to the sea") because their salvation was not so much of a miracle, it was a matter of course.

Horav Yeshaya Cheshin explains why Miriam chose this particular verse to sing. Also, why does the verse say Miriam answered "to them" in masculine, when Miriam was speaking to the women? The women had asked Miriam a question to which she was replying. They all knew that the main reason the B'nei Yisrael went out of Egypt was for the purpose of getting the Torah to learn and keep. Now the women's main role is to raise the children and keep the Jewish home, so the women asked Miriam why should they go out of Egypt- which is just a precursor to the main purpose of getting the Torah- rejoicing with instruments, when women are excused from learning? So Miriam answered with another question. Why was the horse of the Egyptian drowned with the rider? The horse didn't do anything bad! But we see that he was guilty for carrying the rider and supporting the rider in his evil intent, so therefore the horse too must drown. So too with a woman who supports her husband in his learning even though she doesn't learn herself, her merit and reward are very great and for that it is worthwhile to sing and dance. So, for them-masculine-the men, whom you support, like the horse carries the rider, will you receive great merit. Rejoice!

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In Loving Memory Of Our Father, Mr. Joseph Black (Yosef Ben Zelig) O"H
In Loving Memory Of Our Mother, Mrs. Norma Black (Nechama Bas Tzvi Hirsh) O"H
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