[This shmuess was delivered in 5743.]
The first part explained how clear it is and how much
testimony there was to the truth of the events around
yetzias Mitzrayim. The entire generation that went out
was, in effect, a witness to what is written in the Torah.
This shmuess strongly reflects the elemental emunah that
Maran HaRav Shach stressed continually stressed in so many of
The second part discusses in depth the idea that Hashem is
constantly creating the world and that without His constant
creation the world would revert to nothingness. The world is
not just the result of a one-time act of Creation by Hashem,
but it is the result of a continuing act on His part to keep
it in existence. When He wills it, the sea is water. When He
will it, the sea is dry land, such as at Krias Yam Suf.
When we study this more deeply we will realize the great
pleasure this reality bestows on us. Since "there is none
besides Him," even if a person appears far from the Creator
he may actually be very close to him, with the utmost
nearness. We can learn this from the Yalkut Shimoni
(parshas Shemos) in the episode of the "Burning Bush":
"`And Moshe said: "I will now turn aside and see this great
sight" (Shemos 3:3). R' Yochonon said: "Moshe walked
three steps." Resh Lokish said: "He did not walk, but turned
his neck." HaKodosh Boruch Hu said: "You took the
pains to see. I swear that I will reveal it to you."
Immediately, `Hashem called to him out of the midst of the
bush' (v. 4)."
Chazal explain that "I will now turn aside" means that Moshe
desired closeness to the Creator of the World so as to be
zocheh to prophetic vision. Since Hashem's reality
fills the whole world and "there is none besides Him," an
additional slight bit of closeness was sufficient for him to
be zocheh to see prophetic visions. It was only
necessary that Moshe show his longing to become closer to
Hashem. Once he walked three steps, or just turned his neck,
the King of Kings immediately revealed Himself to Moshe gave
We furthermore find in the Yalkut Tehillim (45) "`To
the chief Musician, to Shoshanim, by the sons of Korach . . .
My heart overflows with a good theme'(45:1-2). This teaches
you that their mouths could not confess, but since their
heart was astir with teshuvoh it was accepted by
HaKodosh Boruch Hu. . . . And why could they not say
shirah with their mouths? The abyss [of
Gehennom] was opened and the fire was burning around
Korach's sons were already in Gehennom, in its
seventh, lowest, division, with fire burning around them.
They were powerless to speak. They could not express
themselves with their mouths and say shirah to Hashem.
Their heart, however, overflowed with feelings of full
repentance to Hashem, of coming nearer to Him. Since their
hearts were aroused to do teshuvoh and to come closer
to Hashem they were accepted by HaKodosh Boruch Hu
— "And the sons of Korach did not die" (Bamidbar
Why is this so? Since Hashem's unity encompasses the whole
creation and "there is none besides Him," no matter how far a
person may appear from Hashem he is really extremely near
Him. A person need only discover what his heart desires, if
it is to really want to come closer to Hashem. After that,
Hashem immediately accepts his teshuvoh. His heart's
desire must, however, be so such a sincere and thorough
desire to come closer to Hashem that the One Who knows the
Hidden can testify that it is so. With merely a superficial
desire a person cannot be privileged to become nearer to
Elokim, even though He is found everywhere.
We can learn these principles in depth from the
parshiyos regarding yetzias Mitzrayim. Not only
must we believe in them, we must study them intensively.
Although we must surely believe them, it is necessary to re-
examine them, to refresh our memory and to grasp them better,
until we not only understand them but view them tangibly
— envisaging ourselves as if we had left Egypt.
Similarly we must see the Creator of the World. We must see
the Creator in every movement of our body. When a person
speaks he must see the Creator. When he raises his hand he
must see the Creator. With everything he does he should see
the work of Heaven, see the Creator, see the Ruler of the
World, Whose reality encompasses the whole Creation. The
Supreme Power is actually making possible anything I do.
With such an outlook we must reflect on the whole Creation:
we must see it as ex nihilo. Our realization must be
concrete to such a point that if we were awakened from our
sleep and asked "Do you see the Creation as ex
nihilo?" we must straightaway answer "Yes."
Nature testifies to this! If it were not true, what forces an
apple tree to grow apples? What is the power of understanding
in man? What is man's power of speech? His skin, bones, and
blood? Who is speaking? There is speech and there is someone
who makes this intangible power of speech. What is this
power? Is it not a supreme power from the One Who created man
and Who continually implants in him the power of speech
through His goodness and desire to constantly renew the work
of His creation?
When I look at a tiny worm crawling on the ground, how it
crawls, and in general, how out of rot and decay came this
creature that creeps around, I ponder from where the worm
received its power of life. Is this not a real ex
nihilo creation? Do we need any more proof? Can it be
I see a tiny ant. Where is its source of existence? This ant
runs to and fro and has intelligence and understanding to
such a degree that Shlomo Hamelech, in his wisdom, told man:
"Go to the ant, you lazy person, see her ways and become
wise" (Mishlei 6:6). Man! Man! Study this ant creeping
on the ground!
After understanding all this, can there be any doubts left?
Everything is so crystal clear!
When a person lives in this world thinking that wherever he
is, the Creator of the World is there too, and when in
everything he sees the Creator of the World, undoubtedly his
behavior is altogether different. We must truly feel as if we
are walking with the King. When one walks with the King,
walking takes on an elevated significance and even a sublime
This situation, of course, obligates fitting behavior. A
person cannot do things that do not correspond to Hashem's
desire, or acts unfitting the behavior of someone
accompanying the King. This motif is explained in the
Rambam's Moreh Nevuchim (III,52) and cited in the Ramo
(Orach Chaim 1:1).
In addition, the reality of the Creator's existence, the
Creator Who constantly sends us abundance through His
goodness and kindness — this reality obliges us to
value the Creator's will, to be appreciative, and to adapt
our behavior to what the Torah requires and guides us
towards. In particular concerning character traits, we must
learn from the Torah and implant within ourselves the correct
behavior that the Torah wants to teach us.
Through the revelation of HaKodosh Boruch Hu at Mount
Sinai the Torah teaches us a magnificent example of behavior.
We learn in the Midrash (Shemos Rabbah 2:10),
"`He saw, and behold, the bush was burning in the fire from
amidst the bush' (Shemos 3:2). And why did HaKodosh
Boruch Hu reveal Himself to Moshe in such a way? Since
HaKodosh Boruch Hu wanted to talk to Moshe and not to
disturb him from his work, He showed him that thing [the
bush] so that he [Moshe] would turn his head and see it, and
afterwards He talked to him. You find that in the beginning
`An angel of Hashem appeared to him,' and Moshe did not go.
After he stopped his work and went to see it, immediately
`Hashem called out to him from amidst the bush.'"
Chazal have revealed to us that the whole appearance of the
burning bush was only to attract Moshe to think about it so
that HaKodosh Boruch Hu could later speak to him.
Moshe was occupied in his work, shepherding the sheep of
Yisro, and Hashem did not want to stop him from his work
unless Moshe himself would stop.
How stimulating this is! HaKodosh Boruch Hu is ready
to speak to Moshe and appoint him the nation's leader, over
all of Klal Yisroel. He will be the one who will
redeem them and take them out of Egypt. However, since Moshe
is currently engaged in his work, Hashem does not want to
disturb him and stop him! This is an outstanding lesson of
how we should behave towards each other.
We learn an additional lesson, an inspiring one, from the
episode of Moshe being appointed as ruler. HaKodosh Boruch
Hu commands Moshe: "And now go, and I will send you to
Pharaoh, that you may bring My people, bnei Yisroel,
out from Egypt" (Shemos 3:10). Moshe argues for seven
days with Hashem and expresses his unwillingness to be His
shaliach. During the entire time HaKodosh Boruch
Hu tries to convince him to undertake the mission, but
Moshe refuses and says: "Please send by the hand of him whom
You will send" (4:13) until Hashem becomes angry at him and
Moshe accepts the mission.
The Yalkut writes: "You think that perhaps Moshe
hesitated to go. What he did was only to honor Aharon. Moshe
said, `Before I was born Aharon, my brother, would prophesy
to them. If I now encroach upon my brother's area it would
disturb him.' For that reason Moshe did not want to go.
HaKodosh Boruch Hu said to him: `Your brother Aharon
is not only not disturbed by this but will be happy. The
proof is that he is coming towards you to greet you, as is
written: `And behold, he is going out towards you, and when
he sees you he will be happy' (Shemos 4:14)." Not in
his mouth [is he happy] but in his heart — in his heart
even more than in his mouth.'"
Listen carefully to what is written here: Klal Yisroel
are suffering under Egyptian bondage, are tormented by hard
labor and backbreaking work. Every day Pharaoh slaughters
three hundred Jewish children and bathes in their blood.
Jewish children are cast into the river. What a catastrophe!
HaKodosh Boruch Hu sees His people's suffering and
hears their cries. He commands Moshe: "And now go, and I will
send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, bnei
Yisroel, out from Egypt." But Moshe refuses to go! For
seven days he deliberates with the Creator about his mission
and remains adamant. Why? Because he does not want to become
greater than his older brother, who was already a novi
for bnei Yisroel in Egypt.
Moshe was afraid that Aharon, his brother, would be insulted.
He was afraid that Aharon would be annoyed, and therefore he
refused to go. He knew that even the best and most helpful
thing in the world, like saving Klal Yisroel from its
persecutors, would not succeed when someone is insulted by
its being carried out. If there is any insult done it is
impossible that he will succeed!
The Torah narrates this story to teach us this
halochoh. Moshe's argument is also Torah! It comes to
teach us a lesson. It comes to instruct us how to be careful
of another's honor. We should not, chas vesholom, hurt
other people, and if we do insult someone it is impossible
for us to succeed. People cite in the Vilna Gaon's name that
a person who studies in a house in whose walls a stolen nail
is driven, will not succeed in his Torah study!
The Torah teaches us many pivotal lessons from the
parshiyos of yetzias Mitzrayim. Our duty is to
study them prudently. The Torah teaches us foundations of
emunah: to believe, to be aware, and to see the
Creator in everything. The Torah teaches us that a person is
always being examined by Hashem, Who supervises all that He
created. Here too the Torah teaches us the magnitude of
responsibility for everything a person does, for whatever he
speaks, for whatever he thinks.
Every act a person does makes an impression that lasts for
generations and generations — both for good and,
chas vesholom, for bad. The impression is so profound,
and so thin, as thin as a hairsbreadth, that a person cannot
grasp the extent of his deeds. He cannot imagine how they are
seen and judged by the Creator, Who never forgets and takes
everything into account.
Similarly, when a person studies diligently he undoubtedly
influences his surroundings, and this will be a zchus
for him for generations afterwards. The same is true for
evil, chas vesholom. If a person is mevatel
Torah this will be considered a chovah for
generations and he will be punished for generations.
Especially concerning character traits a person must be
extremely careful, since the influence a person has on others
I ask you to remember what I have said. Each person should
himself reflect on these parshiyos and the lessons
written in them. When we study them in depth we understand
the obligation to sacrifice ourselves for these truths, which
are incomparable in their worth.
When we are speaking about mesiras nefesh we must know
that the truth is that we find people having mesiras
nefesh even for foreign and evil ideologies. I remember,
when I was in Russia, there was a period in which millions of
people fought together with the Communists even though they
were actually endangering their lives. These men believed in
socialism and were prepared to act with mesiras nefesh
for their opinion and their ideology. They were ready to be
imprisoned or thrown in jail for supporting socialism. We
must use this implanted trait of mesiras nefesh for
meaningful aims, for the definite truth called Torah.
A person who does not lie to himself believes in this truth.
It is a pure and evident truth, with no lack admixed within.
We are witnesses that this Torah was given from Heaven. For
it and only for it should we act with mesiras
The truths of the Torah that were given by the Creator, and
not, chas vesholom, invented by a historian sitting in
his room. The clearness of the Torah that was passed down to
us through the generations that teach us of the world's
creation (something that even children among us know) —
all these obligate us to cling to this source of life and
not, chas vesholom, substitute for it "broken
cisterns" that cannot contain this lucid truth.
The lucidity of the Torah is itself strong enough to attract
a person and capture his heart, leading him to embrace the
Torah and cling to what is written in it.