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HASHEM'S TOOLBOX

by Pierce Landis    
Torah from Dixie Staff Writer    

"Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and Hashem moved the sea with a strong east wind all the night, and He turned the sea to dry land and the water split" (Exodus 14:21).

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"Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and Hashem moved the sea with a strong east wind all the night, and He turned the sea to dry land and the water split" (Exodus 14:21).

What caused the splitting of the Red Sea? The most basic meaning is given by Rabbi Avraham Ibn Ezra, a 12th century classical Torah commentator. He explains that Moses ignited the splitting of the sea by outstretching his hand, and Hashem made it happen by sending a strong east wind. Many raise the following question: If Hashem is truly the Master of the universe, then why does He need to use a wind to split the Red Sea?

A very interesting question with a very simple answer - why should He use anything else besides the winds to split the Red Sea! If one is master over something or someone, this implies that he has complete control over it. Hashem is Master of the universe, and the laws of nature are part of the universe. Therefore, Hashem is just using the wind as His tool to split the sea. Just like a carpenter uses his tool, a chainsaw, to cut a block of wood, so too Hashem uses the east wind to cut through the sea.

Even the greatest of non-believers seem to believe in the truth of this verse. How many times has a natural disaster taken place and you've heard someone blame Hashem? Someone whose friend or loved one was killed in inclement weather may ask, "Why did G-d take them from me?" These are certainly questions which deserve attention. However hopefully, when we read in this week's Torah portion that Hashem split the sea, we won't try to dismiss it as a bizarre act of nature, because when we blame a disaster on Hashem, we are saying that we believe that He is Master of the universe and that He has the power to do anything.

As humans, we often blame Hashem for the bad, but do not accept His miracles which occur for our benefit. We blame Him when an earthquake strikes, but we consider ourselves lucky when we strike oil. It is simply illogical to blame Hashem for the bad, yet withhold credit for the good. Everything that happens in this world is caused by the hand of Hashem. Next time something good or lucky happens to us, we should remember to thank Hashem for whatever happened, for it happened because of Him.

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Pierce Landis, a native Atlantan, is currently serving as the Grand Aleph Gadol (International President) of the Aleph Zadik Aleph of B'nai B'rith, and will be attending Yeshiva University in the fall.

You are invited to read more Parshat Beshalach articles.

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