Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Vort for Parashat Beshalach

"And Moshe's hands were heavy and they took a stone and put it under him and he sat upon it..." (Shmot 17:12)

The Talmud in Berachot 54a mentions this stone in a list of objects that deserve a special benediction for being testimony to miraculous events. In Rosh Hashanah 29a the Talmud rejects the seemingly obvious supernatural explanation of the verses that indicate that it was Moshe, sitting on the stone, who directed the course of the battle. What, then, is left that would attach such importance to it?

In Ta'anit 11a we learn: "When the public is in a state of hardship one must not say, 'I will go to my home and eat and drink, and peace be upon myself'... rather, one must endure hardship along with the public, as is written: 'And Moshe's hands were heavy and they took a stone and put it under him and he sat upon it.' For did Moshe not have a pillow or a couch on which to sit? Rather, Moshe said: Since Israel is in a state of hardship, I too will endure hardship along with them."

The stone Moshe sat on symbolizes not the victory over Amalek, but that the leader of the nation would not allow himself comfort that was denied to his flock. Testimony to such solidarity and unselfishness truly deserves its own benediction.

No comments: