30. Beshalach II - THREE DAWNS

IN TIMES OF DANGER and stress it is natural for people to dream of a better day. The kind of future one projects depends largely on the age, background and character of the individual. A deprived young boy hopes to get a new pair of skates or a bicycle. A poor young girl yearns for a doll or a dress. A mature man prays that his business venture or his professional career will be crowned with success. A nation at war pleads for victory, security and peace.

King David who expresses in his magnificent psalms the hopes and aspirations of klal Yisrael, states, "But as for me, I will chant of Thy power. Aranen laboker chasdekha. I will chant of Thy kindness in the morning" (Ps. 59: 17).

In commenting on this verse, a sage says that the boker --the morning-- of which David chants is the one mentioned in our sidrah concerning the destruction of the Egyptian army on the banks of the Red Sea. "And it was at the dawn of the morning that God looked upon the army of Egypt with a cloud of fire and smoke, and the army of Egypt was cast into great confusion" (Exod. 14:24).

Another sage suggests that it refers to the boker when God provided manna --the heavenly food-- for our famished ancestors in the desert (Ibid. 16:8).

A third sage is of the opinion that the word boker in David's psalm has reference to the glorious morning when God gave the Torah to his people. "And on the third day, at dawn, there were thunders and lightnings and a heavy cloud on the mountain and the entire people in the camp trembled" (Ibid. 19:16).

These short comments reveal a keen insight into the soul of man, for they define the hopes and aspirations of the vast majority of humanity.

Those who have experienced the ravages of war, who have endured the losses that we have sustained at the hands of the Nazis and the Arabs, pray to God for the boker of kiryat yam suf. We yearn for the dawn when tyranny will be obliterated and oppression will be no more. We hope for the day when the Pharaohs of our time will be utterly defeated and Israel will be secure and free.

There is yet another boker that animates the hearts and minds of humanity, namely the craving for the dawn when there will be manna for all. Why are the underprivileged of the world in bitter protest and revolt against the so-called Western World? Because there is a lack of the basic necessities of life in a large segment of the underdeveloped lands, because there is hunger and privation in many puts of Asia and Africa. As a matter of fact, stop any person on the street and ask him what he works for and he will tell you that he is working to provide economic security for himself and his loved ones. The world needs desperately the boker of manna, when there will be bread and sufficient nourishment for all.

The third boker is that of matan Torah. Without the light of Torah, the first two bokers will be of short duration. Only when the lex talionis, the law of the claw, will be eliminated not only from the Council of Nations but from the hearts of men, and the just and merciful laws of the Torah will be established and applied as normal conditions of life, will political freedom and financial security endure. The hearts that are saturated with hate, and the minds that are soiled with crime will inevitably destroy the benefits of kiryat yam suf and manna. It is the third boker --the dawn of matan Torah-- that can assure humanity of the continued blessings of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Let us, therefore, dedicate ourselves to the attainment of the three blessed bokers: to work for a just distribution of manna, bring about the utter defeat of the modern Pharaohs, and above all, to help usher in an era where the decent, ethical and moral laws of our Torah will rule the hearts and minds of men.

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