A Cryptic Footnote to the Bris Bein Habesarim

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12 Apr 2020

Did you ever notice how bizarre everything about the Bris Bein Habesarim is and how unintelligible is most of the symbolim? Everything about it has a surreal quality.

Much of it will remain so after this explanation, however we will employ a fascinating Mechilta from Parshas B’Shalach to help us fill in the symbolism of several critical pieces of the jigsaw.

To start, let’s picture the setting in our mind’s eye. Although Rashi may dispute the chronology, several narratives in which HaShem promises many offspring to Avram have already been presented in Lech L’cha. Yet as of the Bris Bein Habesarim, Avram has remained childless.

HaShem comes to Avram in a vision and says, “Don’t be afraid Avram, I have protected (or am a shield for) [מָגֵן] you, your reward is very great.”

Avram counters with a protest, most likely to the effect that nothing God can give him will endure without offspring to inherit – so God’s gift will be transient and devalued. The only candidate for inheritance Avram can appreciate is his servant and companion, ‘Damesek Eliezer,’ hardly his own seed.

God [again] promises him many offspring, and takes him הַחוּצָה, ‘outside,’ and avers his seed will be as numerous as the stars, uncountable.

Then comes an editorial posuk (15:6), nearly impossible to understand in the context of Avram’s next question: He [Avram] believed in HaShem and He [HaShem] considered it as righteousness on his behalf. HaShem then states His Name, י-ה-ו-ה  , and identifies Himself as the One Who took him out of Ur Kasdim to give him this land as an inheritance [i.e., to be passed on to his children].

Yet in the next posuk, Avram still desires a Divine sign that he will inherit the Land, in essence coming back to his original plaint: “Where are my children?”

HaShem’s answer is to command Avram to initiate the setting of the Bris Bein Habesarim: to take the three calves, goats, and rams, a turtledove, and a fledgling (וְתֹר וְגוֹזָל, possibly only a single ‘turtledove-which–is–also-a-fledgling’, a similar idiom to ‘Ger v’thoshav anochi imachem’, ‘A stranger and-a-sojourner I am among you’ [23:4] – and note the singular ‘hatzipor’ employing a hei hayedi’a in the very next posuk [15:10]:

י וַיִּקַּח-לוֹ אֶת-כָּל-אֵלֶּה וַיְבַתֵּר אֹתָם בַּתָּוֶךְ וַיִּתֵּן אִישׁ-בִּתְרוֹ, לִקְרַאת רֵעֵהוּ וְאֶת-הַצִּפֹּר לֹא בָתָר)

As per the above posuk, Avram takes the animals, splits the livestock and arranges the halves opposite each other, but leaves the bird(s) intact. Birds of prey descend upon the animal corpses, but Avram repels them.

It is evening. As the sun sets, a deep sleep falls over Avram. However, this is no ordinary sunset. Everything is confused, fearsome, inky black— and Avram is seized by formless terror. Comments Rashi cryptically (15:17), “חשך היום— the day darkened.”

God then gives His famous prophecy, a summary of the galus and ge’ulas Mitzrayim, and promises that the fourth generation of B’nei Yisrael will return to the Land.

There follows a description of what are apparently symbols or agents of God, as He seals His covenant, His bris with Avram: a smoky oven and a fiery torch, both of which cross through the corridor formed by the halved animals [הַגְּזָרִים].

Avram is not the only one who is confused. Nearly everything about this entire scene, except for the promise itself (which is clarified mostly by the historical account in the beginning of Shemos) is totally unfathomable.

Before we leave Avram for the Mechilta, one brief comment: HaShem comes to Avram with a prophecy, and gives him a task to accomplish, which then becomes a part of the prophecy itself. This is a pattern we are very familiar with— from N’vi’im Acharonim. For example, HaShem told Yirmiyahu to buy and wear a linen belt, but then to conceal it among the rocks adjacent to the river, so that when he much later returns, it has decayed beyond utility, a metaphor for how useless K’nessess Yisrael has become (13:1-8); He told Yechezkhel to take a brick, label it ‘Yerushalayim,’ then to attack the brick with toy soldiers and to erect an iron saucepan as a symbolic barrier that prayers from the city will not be received in heaven (4:1-3). Presumably the actions on the part of the navi lend a sense of reality to that which HaShem foretells, but which at the time of the prophecy has not yet entered the world of human experience.

Now, fast forward to the Mechilta on Shemos 14:20. Starting one verse earlier for context, the pesukim are:

[יט וַיִּסַּע מַלְאַךְ הָאֱ-לֹהִים הַהֹלֵךְ לִפְנֵי מַחֲנֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיֵּלֶךְ מֵאַחֲרֵיהֶם; וַיִּסַּע עַמּוּד הֶעָנָן מִפְּנֵיהֶם וַיַּעֲמֹד מֵאַחֲרֵיהֶם. ] כ וַיָּבֹא בֵּין מַחֲנֵה מִצְרַיִם וּבֵין מַחֲנֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיְהִי הֶעָנָן וְהַחֹשֶׁךְ וַיָּאֶר אֶת-הַלָּיְלָה וְלֹא-קָרַב זֶה אֶל-זֶה כָּל-הַלָּיְלָה.

The usual drill throughout the 40-year desert sojourn, is for only one of the Divine Amudim to be present at any one time, with a changing of the guard at bein hashemashos. Tonight is different however. As the Midrash will clarify, at dusk the Amud Ha’anan instead circles around to the rear flank of the camp of Israel, to protect them from the Mitzri projectiles, and to enshroud the Egyptians in darkness, while the Amud Ha’Eish leads the way in front, as usual during the night.

Comes the Mechilta (arbitrarily split into 3 paragraphs by me for contrast. Translation follows):

ויבא בין מחנה מצרים ובין מחנה ישראל ויהי הענן והחשך, הענן אל ישראל והחשך אל מצרים מגיד הכתוב שהיו ישראל נתונין באורה ומצרים באפלה שנ’ “לא ראו איש את אחיו ולא קמו איש מתחתיו שלשת ימים” (שמות י:כג). וכן אתה מוצא לעתיד לבא הרי הוא אומר “קומי אורי כי בא אורך וכבוד ה’ עליך זרח” (ישעיה ס:א) מפני מה “כי הנה החשך יכסה ארץ וערפל לאומים ועליך יזרח ה’ וכבודו עליך יראה”. ולא עוד אלא כל מי שהוא נתון באפלה רואה כל מי שהוא נתון באורה שהיו מצרים שרוים באפלה רואים את ישראל שהיו נתונין באורה אוכלים ושותים ושמחים והיו מזרקים בהם בחצים ובאבני בליסטרא והיה המלאך והענן מקבלן

שנ’ “אל תירא אברם אנכי מגן לך שכרך הרבה מאד” (בראשית ט:א) ואומר “מגיני וקרן ישעי משגבי ומנוסי מושיעי מחמס תושיעני” (שמואל ב’, כב:ג) ואומר “מגן הוא לכל החוסים בו” (שם,  כב:לא):

 ולא קרב זה אל זה כל הלילה, מגיד הכתוב שהיה המצרי עומד ולא היה יכול לישב יושב ולא היה יכול לעמוד פורק ואינו יכול לטעון טוען ואינו יכול לפרוק מפני שהוא מש באפלה שנאמר “וימש חשך” (שמות י:כא). ד”א ולא קרב זה אל זה כל הלילה, לא קרב מחנה מצרים למחנה ישראל ולא מחנה ישראל למחנה מצרים.

And [the Pillar of Cloud] entered between the camps of Egypt and Israel, and there was the Cloud and the darkness.” The Cloud toward Israel, and the darkness toward Egypt. The posuk reveals that Israel was bathed in light and the Egyptians in inky blackness, as it says [by the plague of Choshech] “No man saw his brother, and no man arose from underneath [i.e., his place] for 3 days.” And similarly you will also find in Time to Come, Yeshiyahu foretells  (immediately prior to this quote is the posuk familiar from the davening, ובא לציון גואל ולשבי פשע ביעקב נאם י-הוה) “Arise, give light [O Tzion], for your light has come, and the glory of HaShem shines forth upon you.” Why (or in contrast to what)? [Says the next posuk:] “For behold, the darkness [חֹשך] shall cover the earth and inky blackness the nations; but upon you, HaShem will shine forth, and His glory will be seen upon you.” [Returning to the subject of the Egyptians] Not only that, but everyone placed in blackness could see all who were placed in light—the Egyptians bathed in blackness could see Israel, placed in light, eating, drinking, and rejoicing, and they were casting arrows and catapult boulders, but the Malach, [and] the Cloud intercepted them.

As it says [by the Bris Bein Habesarim], “Do not fear, Avram, I am your Shield [מגן], your reward is very great.” And it says [in David’s Shirah], “…You are my Shield [מגיני], and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, my refuge, my savior, You save me from violence.” And slightly further down it says, “…He is a shield [מגן] to all who trust in Him”.

And the whole night, one did not approach the other.” The posuk tells us that if an Egyptian was standing, he could not sit, and if sitting, he was unable to stand; if he had released [his weapon, or perhaps his gold and jewels, brought for the planned victory celebration] he could not pick it up, and if bearing [it], he could not release it, because he was enmeshed by the blackness. As it says [by the ninth plague], “And darkness that was palpable.” Another interpretation of “one did not approach the other all night”: neither the Egyptian nor the Israelite camp could approach each other.

The first and third sections form a single unit, and at least come to reveal a comprehensible chidush. Each of the first nine makkos lasted for a duration of one week— with the exception of the Choshech; that one lasted only six days, three of inky black darkness and three of frozen immobilization, but throughout it all the Jews enjoyed clear illuminated vision and freedom of movement.

So what happened to that last, seventh day which the Darkness should have had, just as all of Choshech’s predecessors had? Comes the Mechilta and informs us that Choshech’s seventh day didn’t just disappear. Rather, it was hidden away and saved for the seventh day after they left Mitzrayim! Why that should be so, and the precise relationship between Krias Yam Suf  and the Choshech remains unexplained, but clearly the Midrash specifies that the Mitzrim pursuers in their chariots suffered the same fate as all Egyptians during the Choshech. Interestingly the Midrash also relates this same aspect of the redemption from Egypt to the final ge’ula, l’asid lavo  (perhaps because the Choshech of the Yam Suf lasted only for the nighttime of that seventh day, leaving the remaining 12 hours of daylight darkness for messianic times).

But the middle section is very difficult to understand. The Mechilta cites it apparently just to make the mental association between Krias Yam Suf and the Bris Bein Habesarim, based on the word  מגן, and then brings that same shoresh from Shmuel II 22 (/Tehilim 18), Dovid’s Shirah. All well and good, except that the shoresh מגן is nowhere to be found anywhere in the entire narrative of Krias Yam Suf—so the entire association is completely contrived.  It doesn’t belong, at least not within the framework the Midrash erects, based on the shoresh  מגן [1] .

Nevertheless the Mechilta does make the connection, and allows us to see Krias Yam Suf in the context of Bris Bein Habesarim. Just as importantly, it allows us to view the Bris Bein Habesarim in the light of Krias HaYam!

We are told in 14:20 that the events of Krias Yam Suf began essentially as the sun was setting, since the ensuing action occurs all night long. However, it quickly becomes apparent this is no ordinary sunset. Everything is confused, fearsome, inky black. And the Jews are seized by terror. Earlier (14:10-13) we are told why, as they first sight Paro’s army bearing down upon them (note bolded words whose sherashim are shared in the narrative of the Bris Bein Habesarim, further connecting the two narratives):

י וּפַרְעֹה, הִקְרִיב וַיִּשְׂאוּ בְנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת-עֵינֵיהֶם וְהִנֵּה מִצְרַיִם נֹסֵעַ אַחֲרֵיהֶם וַיִּירְאוּ מְאֹד וַיִּצְעֲקוּ בְנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל-    יְ‑הוָה.  יא וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֶל-מֹשֶׁה הֲמִבְּלִי אֵין-קְבָרִים בְּמִצְרַיִם לְקַחְתָּנוּ לָמוּת בַּמִּדְבָּר מַה-זֹּאת עָשִׂיתָ לָּנוּ לְהוֹצִיאָנוּ מִמִּצְרָיִם.  יב הֲלֹא-זֶה הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְנוּ אֵלֶיךָ בְמִצְרַיִם לֵאמֹר חֲדַל מִמֶּנּוּ וְנַעַבְדָה אֶת-מִצְרָיִם  כִּי טוֹב לָנוּ עֲבֹד אֶת-מִצְרַיִם מִמֻּתֵנוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר.  יג וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל-הָעָם אַל-תִּירָאוּ

So let’s return to Avram and see how this novel awareness might play out:

…Avram once again asks, “Where are my children?”

HaShem answers with the Bris Bein Habesarim: “Avram, take the animals… and build a stage, a theater for what I will show you. I will show you a video—or, as I prefer to call it, ‘home movies of the kids.’” The sun sets and the theater darkens. But this is no ordinary sunset. Everything is confused, fearsome, inky black, and Avram is seized by a formless terror. Then the video starts, slowly and gradually piercing the dense gloom, only to reveal an even more fearful scene, not a bit formless: B’nei Yisrael about to be exterminated by the Mitzrim on the shores of the Yam Suf. (Perhaps the Choshech upon the Yam Suf relates to why Rashi in Lech L’cha states חשך היום?)

HaShem narrates: “Look, Avrami, look. See that guy there? He’s Nachshon ben Aminadav. Watch what he’s about to do, just as the guy who looks a little like Charley Heston first raises, then lowers his staff toward the Sea (that’s Moshe!) — NOW watch what happens.”

The גְּזָרִים of Avram’s split animal carcasses of the stage merge imperceptibly into the majestic גִּזְרֵי יַם סוּף (cf. Tehilim 136:13) as Avram’s reality and the reality of HaShem’s n’vuah fuse into oneness. The undivided fledgling תּוֹר  transforms into the undivided fledgling Nation, the תּוֹר וֳיוֹנָה  of Shir HaShirim (1-2, and note Rashi on Breishis 15:10!).

Then the scene pans out, and the agents of HaShem’s leadership are visualized from the perspective of a bird’s-eye (or “God’s-eye”) view. From 10,000 feet, the Amud Ha’Anan appears as a smoky oven, and the Amud Ha’Eish as a fiery torch, as they march between the split waters/animals, flanking their precious cargo, Avraham’s many, many children.

“Here, Avi, here, catch the looks on the Mitzrim’s faces as the night wears on, and it gradually dawns on them that all their weapons are totally useless. Finally only Paro remains smug, full of grim determination, buoyed by My hardening his heart. Now it’s almost dawn, time for the waters to return to their original state. LemMe zoom in on Paro’s face and switch to slo-mo—Here it is, I love this shot of his face as he suddenly realizes— too late—that he is about to take a bath he will never forget. He looks up and abruptly sees over 145 billion gallons, that’s over 1.2 trillion pounds of water [2], about to crash onto his head in the next millisecond. There, see that sudden look of abject terror in his eyes? Lookit, Avi, just lookit! LemMe freeze the action!”

Hey— Paro, buddy!! You fancied yourself a god? Well here’s a bar o’ soap—catch, boy! Ya know what they say, cleanliness is next to godliness! Yessiree, Next. To. Godliness, eh, amigo?

“Man, I musta seen that a bajillion times, and it still cracks Me up, every time. In fact, I blew that picture up, framed it and put in front of the Kisei HaKavod. Confidentially, I entitle it ‘Man’s Sudden Knowledge of Good and Evil, Take 2’ ” [3] [4].

“OK, seriously. Now watch as K’lal Yisrael collects the Bizas haYam, just as I promised you.”

“So Avrami—you ask Me where your children are?  Well here they are—all 600,000 of them, and that’s just the men. Not bad, hey? And in only four generations. What God promises, God delivers.”

“Seeing is believing, hey Avrami?”

Thus suggests the Mechilta[5], to my understanding. Recall as well, that the entire episode was introduced (15:1) as a מַּחֲזֶה,  a ‘vision’. Therefore it follows that HaShem might show Avram visual imagery in support of His nevu’ah.

Except I have a sneaking suspicion that it wasn’t a video that Avram was watching; those are my words of course, not the Mechilta’s. Rather it may have been a real-time view of Yitzias Mitzrayim, relayed straight to Avram as an Os Bris, backward across 430 years (or whichever interval it was) and across about the same number of miles, as it was actually happening; something only HaShem can do from His vantage point outside of the pale of time and place, that space which the Chumash calls “הַחוּצָה”…

[1] One possible understanding of this Midrash may be to establish Dovid’s Shirah in Shemuel II 22 as a ‘central connector’ between: 1) Bris Bein Habesarim; 2) Yetzias Mitzrayim/Krias Yam Suf; 3) The final Ge’ula L’asid Lavo described by Yeshiyahu; and of course 4) Dovid’s own salvation. (And K’nessess Yisrael’s salvation from the beginning through the end of time, perhaps the essential message!)

This can be appreciated textually/linguistically by the use of overlapping sets of sherashim within Dovid’s Song: For the Bris Bein Habesarim, (1), through sherashim such as מגנ, צדק, עשנ, אש, חשכ, חוצ, עבד; for Krias Yam Suf, (2), through   רכב, ישע, חשכ, חצ, רוח-אפ, ים, סכה, יהמ, איב, עז and others; for L’asid Lavo, (3), through מגנ, ישע, רגל, חשכ עפפ, כפפ, ים, ערפל נגה, לבב, זרוע, צדק, רחב, נחש, חומה, עבב, עבד,נכר, חמס, סגר and others. There are also textual connections to bri’as haOdom, and Ma’amud Har Sinai, and others as well, Va’akmal.

[2]  Based on a rough calculation of the size of the Israelites’ camp x an arbitrary 10 amos depth for the Yam Suf  (at least as deep as Moshe’s stature, given in Maseches Brachos 54b). That’s 12×12 mil x 10 amos depth; if 1 amah=18” and one mil=2000 amos, that’s 12 x 12 x 3000 ft x 3000ft x 15ft=19,440,000,000 cubic feet of water=550,479,498 cubic meters=550,479,497,748 liters= 550,479,497,748 Kg =1,213,599,553,599 lbs=606,799,777 tons=145,421,298,701 gallons.

By contrast, the largest ‘free-standing’ container of water (AKA aquarium) built by man is the Ocean Voyager Whale Shark tank at the Georgia Aquarium, weighing in at a paltry 6,300,000 gallons, 52,576,048 lbs, a factor of about 23,000 times less than the Yam Suf estimate. Nevertheless, to retain the enormous weight and pressure of the tank water, two-foot thick acrylic is necessary.

This is a fairly minimal assumption, and also considers only that volume of displaced water which occupied the actual Machaneh Yisrael, since only water in the vicinity of the Mitzrim would have inundated them, and besides, the length of the traversed Yam Suf is completely unknown…

[3]  An anthropomorphic embellishment upon Shemos 10:1-2, HaShem’s statement that we should tell our offspring how He mocked Egypt:

א וַיֹּאמֶר יְ-הוָה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה בֹּא אֶל-פַּרְעֹה  כִּי-אֲנִי הִכְבַּדְתִּי אֶת-לִבּוֹ וְאֶת-לֵב עֲבָדָיו לְמַעַן שִׁתִי אֹתֹתַי אֵלֶּה בְּקִרְבּו.  ב וּלְמַעַן תְּסַפֵּר בְּאָזְנֵי בִנְךָ וּבֶן-בִּנְךָ אֵת אֲשֶׁר הִתְעַלַּלְתִּי בְּמִצְרַיִם וְאֶת-אֹתֹתַי אֲשֶׁר-שַׂמְתִּי בָם וִידַעְתֶּם כִּי-אֲנִי יְ-הוָה.

Additionally, it is a partial portrayal of the promise within the Bris Bein HaB’sarim,

יד וְגַם אֶת-הַגּוֹי אֲשֶׁר יַעֲבֹדוּ דָּן אָנֹכִי וְאַחֲרֵי-כֵן יֵצְאוּ בִּרְכֻשׁ גָּדוֹל.

[4]  This Anthropomorphism is perhaps rendered a little less whimsical in the light of the narrative of Bava Metzia 59b, one the few places in the Talmud where God is depicted as laughing. There too, it is in the setting of battle, although of a different sort, the Milchamtah shel Torah. There, the Beis Midrash upholds the pesak against Rabbi Eliezer even against multiple Heavenly signs and a Bas Kol to the contrary, under the aegis of “Lo bashamayim Hi” and with a laugh God concedes defeat: “Nitzchuni Banai, nitzchuni Banai—You have vanquished Me, My sons, you have vanquished Me, My sons!” [ or paradoxically, perhaps, “You have given Me Eternity and rendered Me  victorious!” See below.]

Why does God laugh? He is after all an ‘Ish Milchamah’ (Shemos 15:3), and no warrior relishes defeat!

However, God is also Avinu shebaShamayim, and He regards the Rabanan as “Banai—My sons.” Every father kvells when his children follow in his footsteps, and do so with mastery, even surpassing the father. In a sense such is really the father’s victory, as his children attain independent maturity, the father’s ultimate goal for his offspring all along.

At the same time, there is a sense of irony, ruefulness on the part of the ‘vanquished’ Elder. Perhaps that is reflected in the Gemorah’s description of HaShem’s Laugh as חייך. This is similar to the translation by Targum Onkeles of Sarah’s ironic laugh upon hearing of her impending pregnancy as וחיכת (Breishis 18:12), and contrasts with Avraham’s joyful laugh at the end of Lech L’cha, translated as וחדי (17:17).

Regardless, HaShem laughs in the Gemorah, kaviyochol savoring victory in battle—even though there the victory He savors belongs to his ‘adversaries’ and ‘the joke’s on Him’…

[5]   The Mechilta may be understood as coming ‘l’shitaso’ in its commentary later, on the pesukim in B’Shalach [14:30-31]:

וַיּ֨וֹשַׁע יְ-הוָ֜ה בַּיּ֥וֹם הַה֛וּא אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מִיַּ֣ד מִצְרָ֑יִם וַיַּ֤רְא יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ אֶת־מִצְרַ֔יִם מֵ֖ת עַל־שְׂפַ֥ת הַיָּֽם׃ וַיַּ֨רְא יִשְׂרָאֵ֜ל אֶת־הַיָּ֣ד הַגְּדֹלָ֗ה אֲשֶׁ֨ר עָשָׂ֤ה יְ‑הוָה֙ בְּמִצְרַ֔יִם וַיִּֽירְא֥וּ הָעָ֖ם אֶת־יְ-הוָ֑ה וַיַּֽאֲמִ֙ינוּ֙ בַּֽי-הוָ֔ה וּבְמֹשֶׁ֖ה עַבְדּֽוֹ׃

Says the Mechilta:

ויושע ה’ ביום ההוא את ישראל מיד מצרים. כצפור שהיא נתונה ביד אדם שאם יכבוש ידו מעט מיד הוא חונקה שנ’ “נפשנו כצפור נמלטה מפח יוקשים הפח נשבר ואנחנו נמלטנו” ואומר “עזרנו בשם ה’ עושה שמים וארץ” “ברוך ה’ שלא נתננו טרף” וגו’ (תהלים קכד: ו – ח)…ויאמינו בה’. גדולה האמונה שהאמינו ישראל במי שאמר והיה העולם, שבשכר שהאמינו ישראל בה’ שרתה עליהם רוח הקדש ואמרו שירה שנא’ “ויאמינו בה’ ובמשה עבדו” ונאמר “אז ישיר משה ובני ישראל“. וכן אתה מוצא שלא ירש אברהם אבינו העולם הזה והעולם הבא אלא בזכות אמנה שהאמין בה’ שנ’ “והאמין בה’ ויחשבה לו צדקה (בראשית טו: ו)

And they believed in HaShem. So great is Emunah, that Israel believed in the One-who-Said-and-the-World-Was, for in the reward that Israel believed in HaShem, there settled upon them Ruach Hakodesh, and they said ‘Shirah’; as it says “And they believed [ויאמינו] in HaShem and in His servant, Moshe.” “Then Moshe AND THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL sang” (i,e., like Moshe, they merited Ruach Hakodesh to desire to erupt in spontaneous song). And similarly you find that Avraham Avinu did not inherit this world and the Next, except for the merit of belief, that he believed in HaShem, as it says [by the Bris Bein Habesarim] “And he BELIEVED [והאמין] in HaShem and He considered it on his behalf as tzedakah.”

Thus, here the Midrash makes another ‘contrived’ connection—this time between Krias Yam Suf and a ‘Tzipor’— perhaps the Tzipor of Bris Bein Habesarim [Breishis 15:10].

More importantly the final Midrash above explicitly connects Krias Yam Suf  to the Bris Bein Habesarim via the relatively uncommon hiphil of the shoresh אמנ, and further reveals to us the central importance in our faith and belief in the promises which HaShem communicates to us via His nevi’im!

Yashar Kochacheih to ‘Morah’ Rivka Lipschutz for drawing attention to this marvelous insight!