Monday, January 17, 2011

Rabbi Yaakov Lehrfield, Rabbi of Young Israel of Staten Island, on Parshat Beshalach

"Azi vezimrat kah," according to Rashi, means, "My strength and the vengeance of G-d." (It sounds like it should mean "the song of G-d," but Rashi marshals a grammar based argument for why this is not the case.) (The Arizal makes an interesting use of the fact that zemer can mean to cut/prune or to rhapsodize/sing. He says that Pesukei Dezimrah are a preparatory process of prayer through pruning.)

The words that precede the phrase "Azi vezimrat kah," speak of how G-d proudly fought for us, drowning each and every horse and rider (Ga'oh, ga'ah - sus ve'rachbo ramah bayam.") The words that follow the phrase "Azi vezimrat kah," are generally translated as, "This is my G-d and I will adorn him."

In one of those cases where Unkelus proves to be a commentator, adding insightful words to his compact translation, he says that "Zeh keili ve'anveihu" refers specifically to building a Mikdash/Mishkan for G-d. The question arises; what's the connection between G-d destroying the Egyptian people and us building the Beit HaMikdash?

Dovid HaMelech was told that he was not permitted to fulfill his dream of building the Mishkan. The reason he was blocked from building a holy sanctuary is because his hands had spilled blood. Based on this we can understand the juxtaposition of these seemingly disparate thoughts on Az Yashir. We're told that G-d will do all the fighting for us, then we will be permitted (and expected) to build a Mishkan for Hashem.


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