Friday, January 18, 2019

Parashah 16: B'shallach (After he had let go) Exodus 13:17 through 17:16

Shabbat shalom, mishpocah/friends/family!  As always, the weekly Torah portion can be found on our website.

In this parashah, we see YHWH bringing His People out of Egypt after 430 years of captivity! This was a significant/memorable event, just as YHWH said it would be in passages such as Exodus 13:3, 10 and 14.

And here is something to chew on concerning this mass exodus: The Children of Israel traveled on a Shabbat! Let's examine this:

YHWH is with them as a cloud by day and fire by night. If HE moves, they move - regardless of the day.

But consider this: There are about two million in this group of people traveling! In verses like Exodus 16:1 which says "They traveled on from Eilim, and the whole community of the people of Isra'el arrived at the Seen Desert, between Eilim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after leaving the land of Egypt." - because of the sheer numbers of people, it cannot be taken literally that "ALL" people arrived on the 15th day.

Let's say the 2 million traveled, five families abreast, and that they could all walk briskly, 3 miles an hour. (Four miles per hour is a very fast pace, considerably faster than a normal walking speed, so 3 miles per hour is a more reasonable, yet "brisk" pace to use in this estimate.) Further, let's say the families are clustered together, rows of families 10 feet apart. So we have a line, 5 families wide; 120,000 families long, which stretches 227 miles!

At a brisk 3 miles per hour, when they stop for camp, the last row of families arrive at the camp a full 3 days after the first! So when we read in Exodus 16:1, that "the whole community of people arrived at the Seen Desert on the 15th", we must allow for a considerable range for the arrival of the entire community. It makes sense in verse 1 to say the "people arrived" based on the date when the first of them arrived (i.e. the 15th); but we simply must allow time for all the others to arrive. So Exodus 16:1 is really saying the people arrived on the 15th and they trickled in likely over the next 3 days to set up camp....

So....Not counting the "mixed crowd/multitude" (Exodus 12:38) who chose to follow Moshe and his people, approximately two million Israelis - if you count one wife and one child for each man - were brought out of Egypt! How do we know this? Last week's parashah in Exodus 12:37-38 told us the following, which was right after the last Plague, which was the killing of the firstborn!

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