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Kenneth Cohen

Belief in G-d and Moses

This week’s Parsha, Beshalach, gives a description of the actual exodus from Egypt. All of the drama of the Egyptians chasing after the Jews, and the ultimate splitting of the Red Sea, is described in vivid detail.

Clearly, this was one of the greatest miracles in human history. Believing that this actually happened, as well as the Revelation on Mount Sinai, is critical to Jewish belief. This is what makes Judaism a religion from G-d. All of the commandments of the Torah, come from Him. And because they are G-d given, we observe them, whether we understand them or not.

We also have an important verse that is recited in our morning prayers. After the defeat of the Egyptians, the Pasuk reads, ויאמינו בה׳ ובמשה עבדו, “And they believed in Hashem, and Moshe, His servant.” The commentary of the Baal Haturim is most interesting.

He writes that we learn from here that one who argues in disrespect to his rabbi, is as if he is arguing with the Divine Presence. And one who believes and trusts the teachings of his rabbi, shows he also believes in G-d.

This is a reminder that the Written Torah, and Oral Torah, go hand in hand. The teachings of the Rabbis, and the power given to them by the Al-mighty to interpret His laws are of similar importance. This idea is alluded to, when we are told that they believed in Hashem and Moshe, His servant. Just like we are to have belief in Hashem, we are also commanded to have אמונת חכמים, faith in our sages.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at www.cafehebrew.com
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