Parshas B’shalach – It Was All Just a Trick

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Pharaoh is puzzled.  The Jewish G-D has successfully destroyed all the Egyptian gods.   During the makkas bechoros they all melted and fell apart. Only one of them seems invincible.  Only one was able to withstand the
Al-mighty Jewish G-D.  Baal Tzefon could not be vanquished.  In fact, the
spies Pharaoh had sent along with the Bnai Yisroel informed him that  the
Jews had retreated.  It seems that Baal Tzefon is holding them captive.
They seem to be stuck in Baal Tzefon’s clutches.  Finally the Jewish G-D has
found His match they thought.  Now is the perfect time to chase after them,
bring them all back and retrieve all the gold and silver they had taken
along with them.
Little did Pharaoh realize what a neat little trick Hashem was playing with
him.  It was all a mirage.  Baal Tzefon was as worthless as the rest of
them.  Hashem had especially left it standing in order to fool Pharaoh into
chasing after the Jews.  It was the bait with which to catch the big fish –
meaning Pharaoh and all his cohorts.  Hashem hadn’t finished with him yet.
A score still had to be settled.  The Egyptians had to be punished midah
k’neged middah.  They drowned the Jews and therefore they would have to be
drowned themselves.  Baal Tzefon was actually nothing but a paper tiger and
could do the Jews absolutely no harm.  Yet Pharaoh fell for the bait-hook,
line, and sinker, as the posuk says “He makes the nations crazy and destroys
Pharaoh fell for the bait -hook, line, and sinker!
Over and over again, in generation after generation, the same spectacle
takes place.  The many different types of avodah zoroh have succeeded in
fooling millions of people into thinking that they have some value.  People
have been fooled in all sorts of ways into believing that they have power of
their own.
One of the biggest scams in history took place in the time of Daniel.  King
Nevuchadnetzar had built the tallest and biggest idol ever.  It would be in
the Guineas Book of world Records.  It was built of pure gold and it stood
60 amos  high (over 100 feet).  In fact, it even was able to speak.  It
called out in a loud and clear voice, “I am your god.”  Nevuchadnetzar
proclaimed that every person is required to bow down to it and if not, he
would be killed.
Daniel, of course, refused to bow down to this big piece of garbage.  He
simply stuck his hand into his throat and pulled out the shem hameforash and
suddenly it became mute.  The trick had been discovered.    Nothing but a
Imagine you’re sitting and watching a movie.  Suddenly the person in the
movie pulls out a gun and shoots it right into the direction of the
audience.  You hear the loud noise echoing throughout the hall.  Suddenly
the man next to you yells out that he’s been shot.  They quickly call the
police, and sure enough they find he has a bullet hole right through his
chest.  So the police begin to investigate and try to find out who shot him.
When they finally get to you, and ask you how it happened, you begin to
explain it to them.  You saw the murderer with your very own eyes.  It was
the guy on the screen.  He must have done it.  That’s because at the very
exact moment that that man had pulled the trigger you heard a noise, and
that’s the very same moment the person sitting next to you shouted out that
he’d been shot.  Hopefully no sensible judge will ever accept such a story.
It’s totally impossible.  A man in a movie can’t kill.
It’s totally impossible.  A man in a movie can’t kill!
It’s only a picture.  A mirage.  There’s no way in the world that he could
even kill a fly.  There certainly must have been someone else sitting nearby
who killed this man at the very precise second that the man in the picture
pulled the trigger.  There can be no other explanation.  What you actually
saw is totally meaningless and completely misleading.  It just can’t be.
Yet when a blind man brings his sacrifice to a stone statue, and a moment
later he can suddenly see, we are all too eager to accept that the statue
has the power to make him see.  It’s just as foolish and dumb as the man at
the movies thinking that the man in the film killed the person sitting next
to him.  It’s nothing but an illusion.
And this is the reason why the Rambam writes that there’s absolutely no such
thing as kishuf – black magic.  All the meforshim barrage him with questions
from a dozen Gemorahs, which tell us many interesting stories about magical
creations that they saw with their very own eyes.  How can the Rambam argue
with all these clear-cut stories in the Gemorah?  The answer is that the
Rambam isn’t arguing with any Gemorah at all.  He’s not debating whether
they were seen or not.  Apparently people did see all these things mentioned
in the Gemorah.  The Rambam is just saying that these things simply do not
really exist.  It’s nothing more than a movie.  It looks perfectly real.
Even 3-D.  But it’s not really there.  Nothing is really happening.  It just
appears to be real.  Why?  Because “ein od milvado”.  There can be
absolutely nothing besides Hashem.  That’s why if you say (and naturally
truly believe) in ‘Hashem Echad’ all magic dissolves, disintegrates and
disappears.  It’s all a mirage.  Nobody’s denying that you saw it, and you
heard it.  We’re just saying it’s all  totally meaningless.  It’s all a
trick of the eye.  It’s all like Cinema 180.  You think, feel and see
yourself actually going around mountains, down rivers, etc.  Yet it’s
nothing but an amazing illusion.  For there can be nothing but Hashem
Chasidus explains that when one closes his eyes and utters the Shema Yisroel
and concentrates on  Hashem achad  he should realize in his mind that all he
sees around him is really non-existent.  It is all a mirage.  For everything
in the universe is one with Hashem Himself.  There is absolutely nothing
besides Him.  The world just appears and seems to be a separate entity, but
in reality it’s all a manifestation of Hashem Himself.  Maybe it can be
compared to a movie shown on a screen.  You can’t remove the picture from
the screen by scratching it off.  That’s because the picture is not really
part of the screen at all.  It just seems and appears to the eyes as if it’s
on the screen.
Everything in the universe is one with Hashem Himself
People who served avodah zoroh would be healed of many sicknesses.  This, of
course, would convince people of the great merit of avodah zoroh.  Even
nowadays there are many stories of people who go to priests, who seemingly
are able to help them.  Little do they realize  that it’s all nothing but a
very realistic 3-D. movie.  Hashem makes it seem as if the avodah zoroh
actually has power.  Yet He expects man to have enough sense to realize the
truth that it is He who is doing the actual healing.  Magic may actually
seem very real but is nothing more than clever deception-its the magician
who’s really making the things disappear.
Hashem makes it seem as if the avodah zoroh actually has power
Even black magic is nothing but the deception caused by shadim, etc.  It
certainly proves nothing!
The best example is to look in the mirror.  There you are.  An exact
duplicate of yourself, down to the very last detail.  It’s you all right.
There’s no question about it.  But how can you be inside the mirror if you
feel and see yourself standing in front of it?  Your eyes say you’re there,
in the mirror, but you know you’re here.  Would you even for a split second
believe that you’re inside the mirror and not really standing in front of
it?  Certainly not.  But why?  Simply because it’s absolutely impossible.
Then avodah zoroh is also just as impossible.  It just can’t be, no matter
how real it looks!