Parshas Beshalach:
 By: Yaacov Silverstein
e@mail: hm16@popeye.cc.biu.ac.il
HomePage: http://faculty.biu.ac.il/~hm16/

This Dvar Torah was prepared in the merit and memory of my grandfather: Rav Yitzchak Zev Ben Yisroel Mordechai HaKohen Solomon

Parshas Beshalach:


"And they came to Marah, and they couldn't drink the water, for it was bitter".

The Kotzker writes that it wasn't that the water was bitter, rather they were bitter. For when someone is bitter, everything he tastes is bitter.

Rabbi Pliskin writes that if a person feels bitter, nothing in life looks positive to him.

For when someone is constantly looking for faults and defects, one will always find what to complain about. One must correct his outlook on life, than things will "taste" sweeter in life.

We see a similar idea by the Mahn.

Rav Frand brings down an idea in the name of Rav Pam.

Happiness in life has nothing to do with things, rather it has to do with ones perception on life.

There are 2 types of people, one that will always be happy, and one that will never be happy.

We can see from the Mahn that happiness is not found, in having things.

For in Ruchnias and Gashmias, there wasn't anything better than the Mahn.

Yet the Bnei Yisroel complained further on in the Torah, "Vehnafsheinuh Katzah ... Lechem Ha Klokel."

They disliked the Mahn for they had no need to go to the bathroom.

For the Mahn was digested perfectly, and there was thus no need for excreting.

This is what they disliked about the Mahn?

So the story of the Mahn teaches us that happiness is dependent only on a persons perception on life.

Rav Pam says:

"Everyone looks for the city of happiness but they fail to realize that the city of happiness is in the state of mind."

This is what we must learn from the Mahn, there are those that wont be happy with anything.

We must have a more positive outlook on life in order to be happy.

Rav Frand continues that a teacher or parent must instill into their children that happiness doesn't have to do with things, a child must know that the most important thing in life, is to be happy with ones lot.

(Rav Frand Torah Tape Parshas Beshalach - Israael's War's)

To sum it up:

"Happiness isn't having what you want, its wanting what you have."

(As seen on the internet)

What is Nekamah:


What is true Nekamah (vengeance)?

When we here this word, we automatically think that it means that one is taking revenge on another for a wrong doing or an act that the other did against him.

We see it as one lashing back at his enemies for their wrong doings.

This is not real vengeance.

Comes Rav Chaim Shumlevitz and writes that true vengeance is when one feels it in his soul, the spiritual essence, rather than the physical reaction of ones fists.

True Nekamah is rooted in an elevated and lofty world.

For it says, "Kayl Nekamos Hashem", and Chazal say in the Gemarah Berochos (33:a), that vengeance is great, for it rests between two names of Hashem.

So real vengeance is the act and revelation of justice in this world.

It shows the world that justice is always carried out, by the ultimate judge.

The Midrash Rabbah( 23:1) brings down that "even though Hashem is eternal, Hashem's throne was not established and was not known throughout the world, till his children said Shira, therefore it says 'from then your throne is established'".

Thus the Shira that was said by the Yam, was a way to bring out Hashem's holiness, throughout the world. Thus true vengeance is that what brings out Hashem as the ruler and judge.

This shows the world that there is a judge and ruler in this world, people are eventually punished for their wickedness and wrong doings.

Vengeance is only allowed when ones sole motivation is the manifestation of Divine retribution. If one has in him a feeling of personal vengeance, this has than lost the meaning of vengeance, and one may even be considered a murderer.

This is why the Torah writes by Pinchas, when he took vengeance on Zimri, the Torah lists his ancestors. To show us that Pinchas came from Aharon, the one who was well known for his love and peace that he had for all of Klal Yisroel.

The only motive which allows Nekamah, is when it is done for Kiddush Hashem. (Adapted from Sichos Mussar, Rav Chaim Shmulevitz)

Comes Rav David Feinstein in his Sefer "Kol Dodi" and writes that a true great person is one who can control himself and not do more than one should.

Many times when someone may harm us, physically or verbally, we may want to lash back at them with full force, it may be hard for one to control the anger building up in him.

A person who is able to control his natural impulses, and react logically to a wrong done, and act not in Nekamah, but to correct the other persons wrong, and to prevent it in the future, he is a wise person.

The Torah teaches us that there is justice in this world, and Hashem is just and gives to everyone exactly what they deserve.

Did you know?


Did you know from where we learn to have three meals on Shabbos?

If you have a quick look at Pasuk(16:25) you would see the word "Yom" (day), written 3 times in the Pasuk, which dealt with eating the Mahn.

From here we learn to have 3 meals on Shabbos, one on Friday night, one Shabbos morning and one after Mincha.

The Sefer Tzenah Ureinah writes that it is a very meritorious deed to eat these three meals, faithfully.


Tu B'Shvat:


B'ezrat Hashem, this coming Monday will be the 15 th of the month of Shvat(5759). This day is one of the 4 Roshei Hashanah, that we have each year. It is the Rosh Hashana for trees.

We have the Minhag to eat more fruits than we usually eat, on this day.

For according to Beis Hillel, this day is the Rosh Hashana for trees, in order to show this, the Ashkenazim have the Minhag to eat fruits on this day. (Shulchan Aruch O.C. - Magein Avraham 16)

Especially those fruits that have grown in Eretz Yisroel, and especially carobs.

There are those that make a Seder Tu B'Shvat.

We have the Minhag to consider this day a little bit of a Yom Tov, for this day is the New Year for trees.

Tu B'Shvat can only fall on, Mon, Tues, Wed, Thur, Fri. It doesn't fall out on Sunday or Saturday.

There is a Machlokes in the Gemarah (Rosh Hashana 81:1), Beis Shamai says that Rosh Hashana for the trees is on Rosh Chodesh Shvat, while Beis Hillel says its on the 15th of Shvat. We hold like Beis Hilel.

Hilchos Ha-Aretz:


There is a very important Halacha that deals with this day.

The tithes (Maaser) taken from the fruit grown on trees is dependent on this day.

For one is not supposed to take Maaser from fruits that had "Chanatah" before Tu B'Shvat on fruits that did their "Chanatah" after Tu B'Shvat.

Also, when dealing with the Third year of Shemitah, when we give Maaser Ani. The fruits that had "Chanata" between Rosh Hashana of the Third year until Tu B'Shvat, are considered like fruit from the second year of Shemitah, and we have Maaser Rishon and Maaser Sheni, with no Maaser Ani.

And from Shvat and onwards, we hold Maaser Rishon and Maaser Ani.

Also when dealing with Orlah and Revai, the year is over on the 15th of Shvat and not the 1'st of Tishrei.



The Sefer Bnei Yissachar brings down that there are those who pray on the 15th of Shvat, for a nice and Mehudar Esrog when he needs one for the Mitzvah.



One does not fast on this day, and one does not say Tachnun, also one doesn't say Tachnun the Mincha before.

When it falls on Shabbos, Av Harachamim and Tzidkascha Tzedek are not said. There is also no Hazkaras Neshamos.



This is not really what you can call a Minhag, but in the year 5673, the Teachers Organization in Yerushalayim, took some 1500 students to plant trees in Motza (on Tu B'Shvat).

Each one planted a tree, and then they gave out fruits to eat on that day.

This is similar to what we call in the USA, "Arbor Day".

To end off, the Sefer Hatodah brings down that the fruits of Eretz Yisroel Mevasser the end of our Galus.

Rav Abba says that, you don't have any clearer end of Galus than this, for it says in Yechezkel(36) "Veateim Harei Yisroel, Anafcheim Titnuh U'Precheim Tisuh Leh Amei Yisroel, Ki Korvu LaVoh."

And Rashi on the Pasuk says that when Eretz Yisroel gives out fruit in plenty, then our end to the Galus is near, and there is no clearer end to Galus than this.

Let us keep this in mind, when we eat on this day the delicious fruits of Eretz Yisroel.

Good Shabbos...and Shana Tovah for the fruit trees!!