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Friday, February 7

The Weekly Shtikle - Beshalach

Last night, at a parsha shiur I regularly attend, an interesting observation was discussed. The main event in this week's parsha is commonly referred to as keriyas Yam Suf, the tearing of the Red (or Reed) Sea. However, that verb – kara – is never actually used in the Torah. Rather, when recounting the event, it is stated (14:21) "vayibak'u hamayim," and the waters were split. Why the disparity?


One of the explanations suggested was based on a fascinating approach by HaRav Yosef Rosen, known as the Rogatchover Gaon, who lived in the beginning of the 20th century. As we all know from our school days, water molecules are made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atoms. When they come together, they form a liquid but on their own, they are gases. The "split" referred to in the pasuk is the actual splitting of the water molecules creating hydrogen and oxygen gas, therefore leaving open air in its place.


Therefore, it can be stated that the Torah's term for what transpired speaks to the actual action and root cause of this great miracle. The term used by Chaza"l, is more of a description of the event from the position of an onlooker and what they would have seen with the naked eye.


Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

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