The Portion of Beshalach
Now when Pharaoh let the people go, Hashem did not lead them by way of the land of the Phillistines, although it was nearer; for Hashem said, “The people may have a change of heart when they see war, and return to Egypt.”
He said, “It means, ‘Hand upon the throne of Hashem!' Hashem will be at war with Amalek throughout the ages.”
This week’s portion, pronounced b’-sha-LAKH, meaning ‘when he let go’, tells of The Children of Israel’s early adventures in the desert, before receiving God’s law at Mount Sinai. Pharaoh once more changes his mind about the Hebrews leaving, and sends his army out after them. God splits the sea, allowing the Israelites safe passage and drowning Pharaoh’s forces. All is not smooth, however, and the Israelites challenge God several times as they encounter strife along the way.