Parshas Beshalach

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Parshas Beshalach

Rabbi Zev Leff was once riding in a taxi in Israel. Dressed up in his hat and long coat, it was rather obvious that he was a religious Jew. The taxi driver turned to Rabbi Leff and said “I have a friend just like you (religious)”. Rabbi Leff just kind of nodded and went back to his own way. “No really”, persisted the taxi driver, “I really have a friend who’s just like you”. Rabbi Leff realized there was no way out of this one. It was a long ride and a friendly driver. “Tell me about him” said Rabbi Leff. So the taxi driver told him a story. The driver, along with two of his buddies, had finished the Israeli army many years back, and decided to go on a trip. They decided to take a backpacking trip to India. So off they went to the mountains of India with nothing but there backpacks and themselves. One night, two of the friends woke up (the driver being one of them), but didn’t see their other comrade. “Where is he” said one to the other. They went looking outside their tent with a flashlight to find their friend. All of the sudden the now taxi driver had heard a huge shriek, and ran to the scream. When he got there, he saw his friend shining a flashlight into the distance. At the other end of the light was their missing friend, with a gigantic boa-constrictor snake wrapped around his neck. The snake was squeezing the life out of him, and it was only a matter of about a minute before his near death. “Quick” the friend called, “say shema yisroel”. The friend holding the flashlight grew up religious and knew that before death one is supposed to say the pasuk of shema yisroel. So with his last breath, he began to say shema yisroel. As he finished saying shema, the snake unraveled itself and went off into the distance. The taxi driver said to Rabbi Leff “that friend of mine, he is now religious just like you”. Rabbi Leff, without hesitation, looked right at the taxi driver and asked “and what’s with you”. “I don’t think you heard me right” said the taxi driver. “I said it happened to my friend, not to me”.

All too often we see or hear something absolutely miraculous, and yet, when it comes down to it, it didn’t happen to me. It’s amazing how the same exact thing could effect two different people in two completely different ways. In the Rav Leff story, one person become a heaven fearing observant Jew, and the other became someone with a heaven fearing observant Jewish friend.

The parsha tells us of the unbelievable miracle of the splitting of the Yam Suf. It was a sight like no other. The open miracles by the splitting of the waters were of a magnitude we can never imagine. The Midrash even tells us that a lowly maidservant saw by the splitting of the Yam Suf what some of the greatest prophets couldn’t even see. But one thing is amazing. That maidservant remained a maidservant. Even after such a miraculous, life altering event, nothing changed. That maidservant was the same lowly maidservant as before. And if one would ask how could it be; how could such a revelation not make even one iota of a difference in that maidservant’s life? The answer is so simple; it didn’t happen for me!

GOOD SHABBOS!

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