D’var Torah Beshalach Jan. 18,2019

At the end of Beshalach, we meet Amalek, the arch-enemy of the Israelites.   Joshua is appointed to lead the struggle against Amalek, while Moses goes to the top of a hill and holds up his hands.  When Moses’ hands were up, the Israelites prevailed; when his hands were down, Amalek prevailed.  Of course, this tactic was not sustainable, so a rock was brought for Moses to sit on, and Aaron and Hur supported his arms until the sun set and the battle was won. (Ex 17:9-13) Curiously, the text actually says that Moses’ hands were “emunah” until the sun set. (v. 12) The word “emunah” means faith.  What could this teach us?  Perhaps it was not steady hands held high that enabled the Israelites to prevail, but witnessing Moses’ need to bolster his faith with the support of his peers that inspired them to prevail.  Indeed, how can any of us succeed in our goals and struggles without a good dose of faith and the support of others when our faith weakens?  Knowing that even great leaders have such struggles can help us to prevail when weariness overcomes us in seeking to reach our goals.

Rabbi D. Feingold