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Dear Mogen David Family,

Kriat Yam Suf marks one of the most dramatic and revelatory experiences recorded in Tanach. Picture the scene: Bnei Yisrael, after finally leaving Mitzrayim with the promise of a bright and hopeful future, are trapped between the wide and uncrossable Red Sea on one side, and the impending and powerful Egyptian army on the other. All is lost; doom is certain! The hungry and tired nation of slaves begin to cry, to complain, ready to blame Moshe.

What does Moshe do? He does what any Ma'amin would do--he calls out to Hashem, pleading with Him for mercy, for Rachamim.

Hashem's response, according to Rashi, is both informative and instructive. Hashem chastises Moshe: "Mah Titza'ak Elai"--'Why are you calling out to Me?! This is no time for lengthy Tefillot. Now is the time for action! Go forth and walk into the Yam Suf.' Following the example of Nachshon ben Aminadav all of Klal Yisrael enter the Yam Suf, and the rest is history.

What lesson did Hashem convey to Moshe at that fateful moment?

There is a similar Gemara in Masechet Megilla (also mentioned in Masechet Berachot). which tells us there are occasions for long Tefillot, and there are occasions for short Tefillot. For example, when Miriam was stricken with leprosy, tzara'at, in Parashat Bahalotcha, Moshe uses five simple words to beseech Hashem for her Refuah--"Kel Nah Rephah Nah La." At other times we witness Moshe elongating his Bakashot. It all depends on the moment and the nature of the circumstance. Here, at Kriat Yam Suf, we see a third level where Tefilla provides to Assiah, action. We must always pray to Hashem, asking for Chanun v' Rachum, compassion and mercy, but usually these words must also be accompanied by our actions, our effort and commitment.

The Ribbono Shel Olam desires our Tefillot, our words and our thoughts, but even more He takes pleasure in seeing us act accordingly with our Ma'asiot.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Yehuda Moses Rav HaKehillah/Senior Rabbi

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Sun, January 16 2022 14 Shevat 5782