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Parshas Beshalach 5775
Candle Lighting Time: 4:59 pm
January 30, 2015
Volume 11 Issue 12
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Dvar Torah


 Song: Doing It Right
By Rabbi Yakir Schechter 


In this week's parsha we read about the exodus of B'nei Yisrael from Egypt. Upon crossing the Yam Suf and witnessing, arguably, the greatest miracle in all of history, Moshe and B'nei Yisrael sing out a song, a shira, which we know as Az Yashir. The midrash highlights the uniqueness of this shira. When Adam was created he did not sing shira. When Avraham was saved from the burning furnace he did not sing shira. When Yitzchak was saved from the knife he did not sing shira. When Yaakov was saved from the angel he did not sing shira. However, when B'nei Yisrael crossed the sea they immediately sang shira. The same midrash also comments, "Although You [G-d] have always existed, Your throne was not established, and You were not known in Your world until Your children sang this song."


What was so special about this song at the sea?


On the phrase "Az yashir Moshe," "Then Moshe sang," Rashi explains that "Then" when Moshe saw the miracle, it occurred to him in his heart to sing shira. The Maharal explains the comment of Rashi and says that when tzadikim, righteous individuals, experience happiness, song swells up in their hearts. There was no need for Moshe to put any effort into singing. It was a natural reaction. There was such an overabundance of happiness and joy that song just came forth from Moshe's heart.


Rav Asher Weiss points out that shira is not just saying thank you. Nor is it merely recognizing the miracle and singing praise. Rather, it is an outburst of the soul where the soul is elevated due to happiness. He explains that the precursor to singing shira is witnessing a completion or getting a clear glimpse of a complete picture. When a person witnesses a miracle and sees how every detail was divinely orchestrated by G-d he then fully appreciates the miracle. This is precisely what happened to B'nei Yisrael. Only when they turned around after crossing the Yam Suf and saw the Egyptians dead in the sea did they clearly see the big picture, that they were finally and completely redeemed. It was only then that they sang shira.


We find a similar idea in Parshas Vayishlach when Yaakov is fighting with the angel of Esav. When Yaakov is about to defeat the angel, the angel says "Let me go, for dawn has broken." Rashi comments that the angel wanted to go because he needed to say the shira of the day. Rav Weiss quotes the Maggid of Koshnitz who explained that precisely at that moment when Yaakov defeated the angel of Eisav, which symbolized that B'nei Yisrael will always overcome the nation of Esav in future encounters, did he want to sing shira. It was the moment of completion and seeing a picture in its entirety.

May Hashem open our eyes to see the miracles that affect our lives, and then we can sing to Hashem with meaning, joy, and fervor.





Dvar Halacha
Halachos of Tznius (Modesty) 


By Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi



The Posuk in Michah (6:8) says "Ve'hatznaiya leches im Alokecha" (And walk modestly with your G-d). Therefore, a person must conduct himself modestly in all his ways. A person should not say, "I'm alone in the privacy of my own home and I can do what I want because who will see me," for Hashem fills the whole world and sees everything (Shulchan Aruch 2:2). We see one should be modest even in the privacy of their own home.

It is important to note that tznius applies to men as well. According to Harav Moshe Feinstein, zt"l,tznius for men is not anobligation, rather a middas chasidus (an act of piety) (Igros Moshe YD 3:47:3 & 3:68:4).


One should dress in a way he would dress in front of other people in his home. One is not required to dress in front of Hashem (i.e. in the privacy of his home) as he would dress when he goes out in public, or in front of important people (Igros Moshe YD 3:68:4). It is also important to note, that what one would wear in his home in front of people, could differ in different places or at different times, or even in different seasons. For example, if when one is hot he would take off his shirt even in front of company, then he can walk around like this in the privacy of his own home.


This seems to present a problem if one wants to try to be tznius, how could one change his clothes [e.g. into pajamas], if he will inadvertently, even for a few seconds, not be dressed the way he would in front of guests? Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt"l, recommends to change in a bathroom that has a shower or bathtub, since it is normal to be undressed there. He recommends for one to change from his pajamas into clothes in the bathroom, and vice versa (Igros Moshe YD 3:47:3). One could also change underneath his covers (Shulchan Aruch 2:1).


There once was a group of people who came to Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt"l, asking him for a suggestion to improve their avodas Hashem (service of G-d), by taking on a new stringency. Rav Shlomo Zalman, zt"l, responded they should keep all the laws in Shulchan Aruch properly. After they persisted that they wanted to take on something extra, he told them, "if you want to take on a chumra, it is worthwhile to take on a stringency in inyanei tznius, because when one works on inyanei tznius one works on becoming closer to Hashem. Anyone whose soul desires ruchniyus (spirituality) the main thing he should work on is tznius and kedushah (holiness)." (Sefer Cheeku Mamtakim Vol. 2 pg. 121). Similarly, the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch [3:1] writes, acting with modesty and bashfulness, brings a person to feel submission before Hashem.





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