Shabbat Beshalah 5784

Not long after the Exodus, not long after the rescue at the Sea of Reeds, not long after the miraculous sweetening of water to quench their thirst, the Israelites have another crisis. This time, it’s about food. And their anxiety triggers memories of the good old days:

“If only we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots, when we ate our fill of bread! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to starve this whole congregation to death” (Exodus 16:3).

Does anyone find it remotely plausible that the Israelites ate their fill of bread when they were enslaved? Is it more likely that they were eating from the fleshpots of Egypt or scrubbing said pots? And yet, this is what they remember in their moment of food insecurity. Or is their memory playing tricks on them?

On Shabbat morning, we’ll explore this phenomenon, which is part nostalgia and part something else that is very powerful in human nature. And we will see that religion understands the difference between history and memory (hopefully in a good way).

Shabbat Shalom and Shalom al Yisrael,

Rabbi David Wise

Candle lighting: 4:46 PM
Torah Reading: Exodus 13:17-17:16
Haftarah: Judges 4:4-5:31