But is it a Basis of Belief?
When G-d was sending Moshe into Egypt to demand that Par'o let the
Children of Israel out, Moshe repeatedly hesitated and did not seem
to want to go. Rambam says that part of Moshe's reservations were
the signs that G-d gave him to display before the people and before
Par'o. Moshe felt (knew?) that belief that is based on supernatural
signs, miracles, etc. leave room in a person's heart for doubt. G-d
said that Moshe will speak to the people and they will believe him.
(Par'o will resist, but that's another thing.) Moshe says the people
might not believe him. So G-d goes through the staff-to-snake and
back again, the hand with tzora'at and healthy again, and the water
to blood sign. G-d says if they won't believe the first sign, then
they will believe the second. If not the second, then the third.
Obviously, belief based on signs is not guaranteed nor is it firm.
Rambam states in Hil.
Y'sodei HaTorah that our belief in Moshe is not based on the
miracles he performed. Those miracles were for practical purposes,
not to base belief upon.
On the other hand, the
wonders Moshe performed did impress the people and did form some
kind of belief. Which is exactly what Moshe was afraid of.
G-d assured Moshe that
the miracle- based belief was a temporary measure - just until the
people left Egypt. Then they would return to Chorev (Sinai) and
receive the Torah, and that would be the solid foundation upon which
Jewish belief in G-d is based. An everlasting belief.
We still have to
understand the statement in this week's sedra, that as a result of
the Splitting of the Sea the people "believed in G-d and in Moshe
His servant". It can be suggested that the experience at the Sea was
much more a GILUI SH'CHINA (Divine Revelation) than what had
happened up to that point, but not likethe Sinai Experience was to
be. (Based on Rambam and a conversation with Rabbi Yaakov Moshe
[The Parshat B'shalach Homepage]
[The TORAH tidbits Homepage] [How to use TORAH tidbits]
[About The OU/NCSY Israel Center]
[About TORAH tidbits]