Parshat Beshalach and the parshiyot hashavua which come before and after it revolve around the first Geulah (Redemption). ThisGeulah serves as a model for every future Geulah – including the one whose beginning stages we are now privileged to experience.
The Midrash offers an interesting description of Kri’at Yam Suf (the Splitting of the Sea):
“‘Hashem is known for the judgment which He performed…’ (Tehillim 9:17) ‘God is known in Yehudah…’ (Tehillim 76:2)
“R’ Yehudah said in the name of R’ Ila’i: When Yisrael stood next to the sea, the tribes competed with each other. This one said, ‘I will go down first.’ And this one said, ‘I will go down first.’ Nachshon jumped into the sea’s waves and went down. And of him, David said: ‘Save me, O God; for the waters have reached until the soul.’ (Tehillim 69:2)
“HaKadosh Baruch Hu said to Moshe, ‘My beloved is drowning in the sea, and you are praying. “Speak to the children of Israel and let them travel.”‘ (Shmot 14:15) Thus, ‘God is known in Yehudah.’ (Tehillim 76:2) And hence,HaKadosh Baruch Hu made Nachshon’s name great in Yisrael, for he merited bringing the first offering, as it says, ‘The one who brought his offering on the first day was Nachshon the son of Aminadav of the tribe of Yehudah.’ (Bamidbar 7:12) Thus, his name was great in Yisrael.” (Bamidbar Rabah – Naso 13:4)
Am Yisrael are in trouble. The impassable Yam Suf lies before them, and the Egyptian Empire’s massive army is behind them. In their hearts, which are still bound with the chains of slavery, they wonder if perhaps they are doomed to return to Egypt. And so, they begin to ask themselves what should be done. The Yerushalmi (Taanit 2:5) teaches that Bnei Yisrael were divided into four groups. Each one had its own opinion as to the best solution.
And here is where Nachshon ben Aminadav’s greatness is revealed. He does not speak; he does not lecture; he does not sin with “the sin which we sinned before You with our mouth’s speech.” (See Rav Soloveitchik’s incredible insight in “Yemei Zikaron” – pp. 131-133.) Instead, Nachshon takes action. He jumps into the sea, and in the final moments before drowning, he cries out to Hashem, “Save me, O God; for the waters have reached until the soul.” (Tehillim 69:2)
“Tachlis” (or “tachlit” in normative Hebrew)is a popular expression which means “the ultimate objective”. I heard in the name of Rav Yisrael Meir Lau shlit”a that the English equivalent of tachlis is “talk less.” A person is not judged by his speaking abilities but rather by his actions.
I can talk about Shabbat’s importance and sanctity. But if I spend the entire holy day waiting for it to end in order that I may return to my business and hobbies, something is missing. I can talk about Eretz Yisrael’s importance and centrality both to Am Yisrael as a whole and to the life of each individual Jew. But if I take no steps towards moving there, I have missed the point. I can talk about Geulah and fervently recite, “may our eyes behold Your return to Tzion with mercy,” three times a day. However, if when He returns and waits for me to share in the process, I sit with my hands folded and do nothing to expedite the process, the essential point is missing.
In “Eim HaBanim Smaichah,”Rav Yissachar Shlomo Teichtel writes:
“And do not be quick to decide and rule that we must not do anything about matters of the Geulah and that instead we should ‘sit and not act’ and wait for Mashiach to come and carry us on the wings of eagles to our Land and our inheritance. And many of our fellow Jews and even rabbis and Torah giants think and assume thusly about theGeulah.
“And when one great Rav preached in public that one should do nothing at all about this – not even building and settling the Land – and instead one should wait for Mashiach’s arrival, which will blossom for us in a cloud, and he will carry us in clouds to Eretz Yisrael. And he came to this conclusion, because he did not delve into the depths of thishalachah, which is one of the most profound halachot… And one who did not delve into it cannot grasp it.
“And I will cite the words of the Tana who supports me. Behold, he is the aforementioned righteous, Kabbalistic, and wise Sephardi (R’ Yehudah Alkalai), and these are his words:
“‘Do not think that the Keitz (literally, the “end”) and the Geulah… and the arrival of our Mashiach are one and that they will all come simultaneously and on the same day. For in truth, they are two separate things, and each one has a season and a boundary and a time for everything…
“‘And one who says that the Geulah will be initiated by Mashiach ben David, as the simple folk hope, is like one who says that the sun will rise before the morning light. These words are null and void, and the great evil which results from this harmful viewpoint is tangible, and experience will prove this to be true.
“‘And it is a mitzvah to tell this matter to the simple folks, and blessed is one who sanctifies His Name in public. And in my opinion, one who hides this matter secretly desecrates the Name of Heaven …'” (Eim HaBanim Smaichah 3:20)
If we learn how to strengthen ourselves and allow our actions to demonstrate our devotion to Hashem, the Redeemer of His Nation and His Inheritance, we will merit being among those who are privileged to have the Bat Kolechoing in their homes. Moreover, we will be rewarded for being the King’s faithful servants who worked together with Hashem and eagerly awaited His Torah and His Sovereignty.
May it occur speedily and in our days!