Parshas Beshalach 5778

In this week’s Parsha, we read about the miracle that Hashem performed for the Jewish people by enabling them to cross the sea on dry earth.  As this was happening, the Egyptians, who were pursuing the Jewish people, also tried to enter into the sea.  For the Egyptians, the water came down and they drowned.  The Gemara in Megillah tells us that the Angels wanted to sing praise to Hashem, but He responded “My creations are drowning in the sea, and you want to sing My praises!”  The Maharsha questions how the Jewish people were able to sing praises to Hashem after they crossed the sea if the Angels’ request to sing was denied.  It doesn’t seem that Hashem was upset about the song the Jewish people sung- only the song that the Angels wanted to sing.

The Maharsha explains that there is a distinction between what the Jewish people did and what the Angels wanted to do.  The Angels were not involved in the miracle; they just wanted to sing praise to recognize the strength of Hashem.  To this, Hashem responded that He didn’t want praise for using His strength to destroy His creations.  The Jewish people, however, experienced the miracle and, therefore, had an obligation to recognize the miracle, and the tremendous good Hashem had done for them.

Reb Eliya Baruch Finkel points out that even with this approach there is still a question that needs to be answered.  The Beis Yosef explains that we don’t say full Hallel on the seventh day of Pesach for this very reason that this was the day the Egyptians drowned in the sea.  The Beis Yosef continues that the Jewish people who experienced the miracle were able to sing praise as they had to thank Hashem.  We, on the other hand, didn’t experience the miracle and, therefore, are similar to the Angels who are not allowed to sing Hashem’s praise for this event.  Rabbi Finkel’s question is that if this is true, why are we able to say full Hallel on the first night of Pesach when we are celebrating the downfall of Egypt?  Didn’t many Egyptians die during the plague of the first born?

Rabbi Finkel explains that there is a difference between the first and seventh day.  On the night of the Seder, the first night of Pesach, we are supposed to feel as if we ourselves went out of Egypt, and were saved from the harsh decrees of Pharaoh.  Therefore, we also have an obligation to thank Hashem for the miracle because this happened to us, as well.  The seventh day does not have the same concept, and, therefore, praising Hashem for miracles would be similar to the Angels’ song, praise from those who didn’t personally experience the miracle.

We should learn from these concepts our obligation to recognize miracles, and to thank Hashem for the miracles that we personally experience.