Beshalach begins with Pharoah finally letting the Israelites go – or rather he “sends them away”. Moses then leads the Israelites through the desert to the Red Sea and G-d guides them as a pillar of cloud during the day and as a pillar of fire at night. Pharoah has a change of heart and sends his army in pursuit. When the Egyptian army finally overtakes the Israelites, they cry out in fear. It is here that G-d says to Moses “Why are you crying out to me?”. This exchange is considered to be a way for G-d to tell Moses (and us) that we must always help ourselves. Things are in our own hands and we have an active role to play in life. Our certainty in our ability to become like G-d, a co-creator in our reality, is how we can achieve anything. G-d delivers the results, but we must put forth the effort. It is truly up to us to achieve mastery in our own lives and then over the physical reality of the universe.
According to the Kabbalists and other mystics, the Red Sea was split by using the power of the 72 Names of G-d revealed in Beshalach. By rearranging the letters of three successive paragraphs in the portion, 72 three-letter combinations, known as the 72 Names of G-d, are created. These names each have a different energy to help us with issues pertaining to health, finance, love, anger, evil eye, certainty and more – forming a bridge to a higher state of consciousness. By meditating on any of the names, we can connect to the specific energy and use it as a tool to help us in our day-to-day lives. Here is a link to an interactive chart of the names: http://thehealinggift.com/chart . It is also important to point out that the Midrash states the Sea did not actually split until Nahshon, the brother-in-law of Aaron, walked into the sea head-deep. This is meant to show us again the power of certainty. Instead of putting a toe in the water, we must walk confidently in everything we do – go in up to our nose – to create and see miracles occur in our life.
After the parting of the Sea and the subsequent destruction of the Egyptian army, the Israelites “put their trust in [G-d] and Moses, his servant”. The portion says that Moses and the Israelites will sing this song to the Lord: “I will sing to the Lord for He is highly exalted.” The song continues on for several paragraphs as a celebration of the crossing and is referred to as the Song of the Sea or Az Yashir Moshe. The commentators point out the present tense used in the song where it says ‘I will sing” – as opposed to “they sang”. This has two interesting messages for us. First, it is meant to be a song of praise that activates the 72 Names of G-d and which is relevant to us today. Most importantly, it uses the pronoun “I” – “I will sing” in connection with an entire nation of people as opposed to “we sang” or “we will sing”. This indicates that there was an exceptional sense of unity at the time and the nation came together as one in unity – a consciousness that provides access to the spiritual realm.
During the Israelites trek through the desert, they would constantly fall back into slave consciousness and complain to Moses. At one point they could not find water and Moses cried out to G-d on their behalf. G-d said “if you pay close attention to His commands and keep all of His decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought upon the Egyptians for I am the Lord, who heals you.” The last part of the sentence – Alecha Ki Ani Adonai (I am the Lord your healer) has the power of healing. The Ari, a prominent 16th-century Kabbalist, shared that this sentence contains 4 Yuds for healing and by reading and meditating on the phrase we can activate the power of healing in our lives.
At the end of the portion we read that the nation of Amalek has attacked the Israelites in the desert. Amalek is a nation that descended from Esau and possesses a negative energy. G-d said “[He] will be at war against Amalek from generation to generation”. The secret to Amalek is to understand that it is a code for doubt and uncertainty. The numerical value of Amalek is the same as the word “safek’ which means doubt. When Moses held up his hands – connecting to G-d and a higher state of consciousness (where certainty resides), the Israelites triumphed over Amalek. When he lowered his hands, disconnecting from the higher level, Amalek triumphed. Commentator Rashi points out that when describing how Amalek overtook the Israelites, it says “Amalek met them on the way”. The word used is “korcha”, which can also mean “cooled off”. The key is to remain focused on our spiritual growth and all positive acts in life. Do not let doubts creep in and throw us off course, or “cool off” our desire and purpose. We must always stamp out Amalek, the doubts and uncertainty in our life.