11th of Sh'vat, 5772
י״א בְּשְׁבָט תשע״ב
Sat, 4 February 2012 


It is always a long road
 to the Promised Land.

When the Jews were finally freed from slavery in Egypt, God led the Israelites the long way out. Why, after generations of persecution, were they presented with this final challenge? MORE>


Different views about 

this week's Parasha

 summary of the portion
 a summary of the haftarah
 from Torah Topics for Today
from American Jewish University
 from Canfei Nesharim
 from Social Action
, from Orthodox Union
 from Hillel
 from AJWS



Connection to the Parshah

Both the parshah and the haftarah contain songs that celebrate the victory of God’s people, the parshah in the “Song of the Sea” about God’s deliverance of the Israelites from Pharaoh (Exodus 15:1–18), and the haftarah in the “Song of Deborah” about the Israelites’ victory over the Canaanite general Sisera. (Judges 5.) Both the parshah and the haftarah report how the leaders of Israel’s enemies assembled hundreds of chariots. (Exodus 14:6–7; Judges 4:13.) Both the parshah and the haftarah report how God “threw . . . into panic” (va-yaham) Israel’s enemies. (Exodus 14:24; Judges 4:15.) Both the parshah and the haftarah report waters sweeping away Israel’s enemies (Exodus 14:27–28; Judges 5:21.) Both the parshah and the haftarah report singing by women to celebrate, the parshah by Miriam (Exodus 15:21), and the haftarah by Deborah (Judges 5.). Finally, both the parshah and the haftarah mention Amalek. (Exodus 17:8–16; Judges 5:14.)
The Gemara tied together God’s actions in the parshah and the haftarah. To reassure Israelites concerned that their enemies still lived, God had the Reed Sea spit out the dead Egyptians. (See Exodus 14:30.) To repay the seas, God committed the Kishon River to deliver one-and-a-half times as many bodies. To pay the debt, when Sisera came to attack the Israelites, God had the Kishon wash the Canaanites away. (See Judges 5:21.) The Gemara calculated one-and-a-half times as many bodies from the numbers of chariots reported in Exodus 14:7 and Judges 4:13. (Babylonian Talmud Pesachim 118b.)

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