Thoughts from Kollel KLAL


After letting Bnei Yisrael go, Pharaoh and the Mitzri’im chased after them. Bnei Yisrael saw the Mitzri’im traveling after them and became frightened. The passuk states “ויצעקו בני ישראל אל ה’ and Bnei Yisrael screamed out to Hashem.” Rashi explains, Yisrael took hold of the trade of the Avos, to daven as each of the Avos did. The Ramban says, Onkelos translates differently, “and they screamed.” This infers that they complained about their difficult situation, but not that they davened. This is as the following pessukim mention, they said, “we would have been better off staying in Mitzrayim, laboring there, and being buried, than dying in the desert.” Moshe appeases them by saying, “you will see Hashem’s salvation; He will fight for you.”

The following passuk states “Hashem said to Moshe ‘מה תצעק אלי דבר אל בני ישראל ויסעו what are you screaming to Me for? Speak to Bnei Yisrael and travel.’” Rashi explains, this teaches us that Moshe was davening and Hashem told him “now is not the time for a lengthy davening since Yisrael are in a painful situation.” The Maharal explains, while Moshe was davening he was not yet answered, rather only at the end of the davening was he answered. Therefore Hashem told Moshe it is not the time for a lengthy davening, since he is unable to be answered until he finishes.

Onkelos translates מה תצעק אלי differently, “your davening was already answered.” The Nesinah LaGer explains that although Hashem generally desires the davening of tzaddikim, here Hashem did not want Moshe to daven because the davening was already accepted. Moshe started to daven and Hashem said there is no need to continue. The Nefesh HaGer brings b’shem the Midrash, Rebbi Eliezer said, there is a time to lengthen davening and there is a time to shorten davening. Right now My children are presently in pain, and the sea is closing them in, why are you lengthening your davening? Speak to Bnei Yisrael and travel, since your davening was already accepted.

The Midrash is bothered: why did Hashem place Yisrael at the sea in this type of situation, stuck without a way out? He answers with a parable: there was a king who was going on the road and he heard the daughter of another king screaming, “Save me from the robbers.” The king heard her pleas and saved her. After some time the king wanted to marry her, however she wasn’t speaking to him. The king sent robbers against her and she screamed to the king. He said to her, “This is exactly what I desired, to hear your voice.” So too Hashem desires to hear the davening of Yisrael. HaRav Hutner zatzal explains, we see from here that davening does not simply come in response to a difficult situation, rather the difficult situation is set up as a trigger to cause us to daven. If follows that while we are in middle of davening we can’t be answered, because the salvation can’t come at a time which will stop from hearing our voices. So too by Yam Suf, Hashem made the situation difficult in order to cause us to daven and Hashem to hear our voice, as it states in Shir HaShirim השמיעיני את קולך כי קולך ערב.” The salvation was only able to come after Moshe finished his short davening, not in the middle, since the purpose of the davening was to hear the davening, not in order to answer the request. The lengthening of davening will only delay the acceptance of the davening, and hold back from bringing the salvation which was ready to be performed. Hashem told Moshe, “Do not lengthen,” in order to complete the davening and allow for Hashem to save Yisrael.

This idea is hinted in the passuk “והיה טרם יקראו ואני אענה עוד הם מדברים ואני אשמע and it will be, before they call out, I have already answered, while they are speaking I will listen.” Rabbi Hartman shlita explained, sometimes Hashem answers a person even before he davens as it states “והיה טרם יקראו ואני אענה.” However once a person starts davening, Hashem listens, and He only answers after the person ends his davening, as it states “עוד הם מדברים ואני אשמע while they are talking I will hear the davening.” Hashem will only answer the person after he finishes his davening as Hashem desires to hear his voice.

May we recognize that Hashem desires to hear our voice and daven with sincerity!

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