04 Feb Seeing Kriyas Yam Suf
Kriyas Yam Suf was the completion of Yetzias Mitzrayim. We learn a very interesting halacha from Kriyas Yam Suf. A person came to the Netziv with the following question. He had a massive fight with another person and swore that he would never see the other person again. That person died and he wants to stand in front of the niftar and ask mechilah. Does the shvua of never seeing him again apply after the person dies?
The Torah Temimah brings a raya from the posuk in Shmos 14:13 that says that the Yidden will not see Mitzrayim/Mitzriyim ever again. Later, the posuk says that the Yidden saw Mitzriyim dead next to the seashore. The Medrash says that every Yid recognized the Mitzri that made him work. We see from here that seeing someone after death is not considered as if he desecrated the shvua of never seeing him again.
The Targum Yonasan says that the Yidden did not see the Mitzriyim dead, but rather in the last throes of their life, (gossessin) so it would seem to contradict with what we said before. How were the Yidden able to see them if Hashem had told Moshe that they would never see them again? We could answer that this would be similar to the halacha of returning a stolen object. The Torah says one must return the stolen object and then says “asher gozal.” The gemara learns from this that one must return the lost object the way it was during the time that it was stolen; that is what the word “asher” teaches us. Here too, the Torah says “asher” concerning the way you saw Mitzrayim today, you shall not see them ever again. The Yidden were not going to see them in the same way as they saw them that day, but rather in a state of them taking their last breaths.
We see the importance of Kriyas Yam Suf being the completion of Yetzias Mitzrayim from the first of the Aseres Hadibros where Hashem said the word “anochi.” During Kriyas Yam Suf Hashem appeared as a warrior ready to do battle, whereas during Mattan Torah Hashem appeared as an old person full of rachamim. Hashem said, even though I appear differently in different scenarios, I am the same Hashem.
In Tosfos in Brachos 13b it is paskened that if one is in a place in Kriyas Shema where he would be allowed to answer Shalom Aleichem to a person one needs to show respect to, then it would stand to reason that one would be able to answer amein and Kedusha. In the event one is in middle of Shemone Esrei, it would be forbidden. It would be a kal vachomer that since between Go’al Yisrael and Shemone Esrei one would be forbidden to be mafsik, then of course in the middle of Shemone Esrei he would be forbidden to be mafsik.
Rabbeinu Tam would stop between Mi Kamocha and Shira Chadasha and answer all the ameins. Only afterwards would he begin Shemone Esrei. He did so since Shira Chadasha discusses Kriyas Yim Suf and that is what the Rabeinu Tam was somech to his Shmone Esrei and not anything related to Yetzias Mitzrayim. We see that the Kriyas Yam Suf was the culmination of Yetziyas Mitzrayim. It therefore is considered the geula which one must say right before Shemone Esrei without hefsek.
May we be zocheh to be like the people in Mitzrayim who were redeemed with great miracles including Kriyas Yam Suf.