The Greatest Movie Ever Made!
Tzvi FishmanBefore making Aliyah to Israel, Tzvi Fishman was a Hollywood screenwriter....
Tonight, we reach the climax of the Pesach holiday with the triumphant and miraculous splitting of the sea. With today’s cinematic technology, what a great movie it would make if some billionaire Jews would come up with the money for me to direct it!
The Torah tells us that the Jews went “hamushim” or “armed” out of Egypt. Rashi explains the Hebrew word to mean that only one out of every five Jews let Egypt. The rest died in the plague of darkness for not wanting to come on aliyah (Shemot, 13:19). Sound familiar?
Next, the Torah mentions that in the middle of all the excitement and “balagan,” Moshe took the bones of Yosef out from Egypt with the Jews who escaped, to teach us the great respect due to our ancestors.
Then an interesting thing happens. On the fourth day of freedom, G-d suddenly orders Moshe to lead the Jews back toward Egypt! What a stunning turn of events! Only a few days before, after 210 years of painful slavery, have the Jews miraculously gone free, under incredible stress and danger, and now they are told to return! How are we to understand this devastating setback in the course of our Redemption?
Rabbi Dov Begun, the Rosh Yeshiva of Machon Meir in Jerusalem, explains that this ziz-zag is the way of Redemption. This is the way that G-d brings the Redemption about – with lightning leaps forward and with seeming retreats and setbacks along the way. Just like with our Redemption today. After a period of great settlement and rebuilding, the evacuation of Gush Katif and the international pressures over Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem make it look like we are going backwards. But, just like in the days of our Exodus from Egypt, this seeming retreat is like a pole vaulter’s steps backwards before he dashes forward to catapult over the bar. Just like in those days of yore, we are on the verge of a sudden sprint that will carry us forward like a shell shot out of a cannon to shatter our enemies and conquer all of our Biblical homeland, from the Nile to the Euphrates.
Finally, duped by our seeming retreat, the armies of Pharoah chase after us in a mad frenzy and trap us at the shores of the dark and thunderous sea. Tonight, in midnight gatherings all over Israel, congregations will assemble to sing the triumphant song that we sang at the far banks of the sea when our victory and freedom were complete.
In the Hallel prayer that we have been reciting all week, we say, in giving thanks for the great miracle of splitting the sea, “the sea saw and fled.” The commentaries ask, what did the waters see to make them spread open and flee before the Jews? They answer that the sea saw the coffin of the righteous Yosef which Moshe brought out of Egypt. In his merit, the sea miraculously split apart and stood upright like a wall. How do they know this? Because the word “fled” appears in the Torah in another context, when Yosef “fled” from the temptations of Potifar’s wife. We learn from this that someone who overcomes the evil inclination and bridles his sexual passions will have miracles performed for him. In overcoming the sea of sexual passion, he elevates himself above the natural world. This high and holy grade is what distinguishes the Jewish People from the lust-filled nations of the world.
It turns out that every time a person is tempted to look at a forbidden image on the Internet and bridles his passion by clicking on something else, or by closing the computer down, he is literally shattering the forces of evil in the world and adding a tremendous infusion of holiness and blessing to himself and to all of Am Yisrael! He is giving power to the Jewish People to overcome its enemies! He is bringing down Divine blessing and protection on himself and the Nation of Israel to stand strong against our enemies and retain sovereignty and control over our Biblical homeland. He can do all of this at home, or at the office, just by saying no to the evil urge and keeping his eyes, and his heart, and his mind pure in faithfulness to the Covenant between G-d and the Jewish People.
In the merit of Yosef, and Moshe, and all of our brave ancestors in following after Hashem, may we have the strength to continue our mission of doing everything we can, each in his own way, of bringing the Redemption of Israel forward to its triumphant completion, soon, in our time. Amen.