When Bnei Yisroel crossed the Yam Suf and the Egyptians were drowning so the Gemara relates that the malachim wanted to say shira but Hashem forbade them. He said, “Keep quiet!” because He was sad that His handiwork was drowning. How do we reconcile that with Hashem drowning them and us singing Az Yashir when they were drowning?
The question is: If Hakodosh Boruch Hu did not permit the angels to say songs to him that day that the Egyptians were drowning because His handiwork was drowning, how is it that He made them drown? That’s the question isn’t it? Is that another way of putting your question?
Well, He had to make them drown to save the Jews. I want to know why we sang. And why we still sing about it?
No. He didn’t need that to save the Jews. He could have saved the Jews by making all the Egyptians catch colds that day. They could have caught colds and remained home in Mitzrayim. He didn’t have to drown them. He drowned them for a purpose! And the purpose was that we should sing.
I’ll explain that. If Hakodosh Boruch Hu didn’t permit the angels to say shirah, so why did He let Moshe say shirah? Hakodosh Boruch Hu should have told Moshe, “Keep quiet!” the same way He stopped the malachim.
But no, He didn’t do that because there’s a big difference who says shirah. Angels cannot get better. Angels don’t get better. They’re called omdim; they’re always the same. So what should an angel say shirah for? They’ll rejoice that somebody’s drowning? No; there’s no purpose.
But Moshe and Bnei Yisroel, they’re in this world to get better and tzaddikim get better when they see the Egyptians drown. Good people get better when they look up and see Haman and his ten sons are fluttering in the air. Good people get better when they see the wicked being punished.
הנשא שופט הארץ – Be elevated, You Judge of the whole world. You know when You’re elevated? השב גמול על גאים – when You bring the just recompense upon the arrogant one. When Hakodosh Boruch Hu does mishpat b’reshaim that’s the time to praise Him! יתמו חטאים מן הארץ ורשעים עוד אינם – When the wicked are destroyed in this world, ברכי נפשי את השם – then my soul blesses Hashem. Because revenge upon the evildoers is one of the biggest, most important principles of righteousness.
Not like the wicked judges and psychiatrists and psychologists and sociologists who say, “Look. Why avenge the dead man? He’s dead already. Why kill the murderer?” And so they pass a law abolishing the death penalty. “A man is dead already,” they say, “You won’t make him alive by killing the murderer.”
But what does the Torah say? The Torah says no. קול דמי אחיך צועקים אלי מן האדמה – The blood of the dead man is crying out for revenge. Not that you’re helping the dead man. But if you won’t take revenge for the dead men, then you have become an animal! You are ruined! For your own character’s sake, you have to take revenge for a dead man! That’s why the Torah begins with this story, to teach us: Revenge, kosher revenge, is extremely important!
And that’s why it says in Tehillim it says ישמח צדיק כי חזה נקם – Let the tzaddik rejoice when he sees revenge, פעמיו ירחץ בדם רשע – he will wash his feet in the blood of the rasha. You hear that queer possuk?
So the Christians will say, “Oh, that’s cruel. It’s such a harsh and vengeful statement. We don’t say that.” They only butcher Jews. They only make massacres on Jews, but such a statement they wouldn’t make.
That’s because they’re all talk. They say, “Turn the other cheek.” But try to hit him in the cheek. See what happens. So they believe in nice statements but we believe in the truth. And the truth is that ישמח צדיק כי חזה נקם – a tzadik should be happy when he sees revenge on the wicked. And that’s why Moshe u’Bnei Yisroel sang. Because they were getting better and better when they saw revenge on the wicked. It made them grow fat with emunah. Their faith in Hakodosh Boruch Hu was reinforced a thousand fold.
TAPE # 17 (April 1974)