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Summary of Parshat  Beshalach

by the editors    
of Torah from Dixie    

Parshat Beshalach (Exodus 13:17-17:16) begins with Hashem leading the Jewish people out of the land of Egypt. Pharaoh's heart is once again hardened, and he pursues them with the Egyptian army, trapping the Jews on the shores of the Red Sea. When the former slaves begin to panic, Hashem reassures them and commands Moses to raise his hand over the sea, miraculously parting the waters and allowing the Jewish people to pass through safely. Pursued by the Egyptians into the sea, Moses once again raises his hand and the waters come crashing down upon Pharaoh's army. Awed by this indisputable miracle, Moses leads the Jewish people in the Az Yashir, a song of praise to Hashem acknowledging their debt of gratitude for their remarkable salvation. After traveling from the Red Sea, and following the miraculous sweetening of the bitter waters at Marah, the Jewish people complain to Moses and Aaron that they have no food to eat. Hashem responds by causing a daily ration of manna to fall from the sky every morning (except for Shabbat), sustaining them for their forty years in the desert, while at the same time testing their faith that they would trust in Hashem's providing for them on a day-to-day basis. They are also given a constant water source when Hashem commands Moses to strike a rock, miraculously causing water to flow from it. The Torah portion concludes with the nation of Amalek's unprovoked sneak attack and the Jewish people's victory, followed by Hashem's promise that the memory of Amalek will ultimately be erased.


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