Parshat Beshalach Summary

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Parshat Beshalach is the 4th parsha in Sefer Shemot (also known as Exodus).

The Shabbat of this parsha is also called Shabbat Shira based on the song the Jewish people sang after escaping from the Egyptians.

This parsha is verses Shemot 13:17 – 17:16, or a total of 116 verses.

Here is a brief summary for each aliyah.

Aliyah 1: Shemot 13:17 – 14:8, 14 verses

After fleeing Egypt, God leads the Jewish people on an indirect route. Meanwhile, Pharaoh and his people regret letting the Jews leave. So Pharaoh loads his army on chariots to pursue the Jewish people.

Parshat Beshalach Pharao chariot

Aliyah 2: Shemot 14:9 – 14:14, 6 verses

Pharaoh and his army catch up to the Jewish people by the sea.

Aliyah 3: Shemot 14:15 – 14:25, 11 verses

God orders Moshe to raise his staff and use it to split the sea. The Jewish people cross the sea on dry ground. The Egyptians chase after them but God prevents them from getting too close.

Aliyah 4: Shemot 14:26 – 15:26, 32 verses

God orders Moshe to again stretch out his arm over the sea. God causes the sea to return to its normal condition thereby drowning the Egyptians.

The Children of Israel celebrate their deliverance by singing The Song of the Sea.

Moshe leads the people away from the sea into the wilderness. They come to a place called Marah but the water is too bitter to drink. God shows Moshe how to sweeten the water of Marah.

Aliyah 5: Shemot 15:27 – 16:10, 11 verses

The Jewish people continue journeying into the wilderness. Then they run out of food. God promises to give them meat and bread from heaven.

Aliyah 6: Shemot 16:11 – 16:36, 26 verses

That evening God sends flocks of quail to the Jewish camp. The next morning the camp is surrounded by bread called manna (“man” in Hebrew). The people are instructed to gather manna every day, except on Shabbat.

Aliyah 7: Shemot 17:1 – 17:16, 16 verses

The Children of Israel continue to journey and came to the Wilderness of Sin. (This is not the English word for transgression, but the Hebrew word spelled samech – yud – nun sofit.) There was no water so God orders Moshe to strike a rock with his staff. He did so and water flows out of the rock.

Then the Jews are attacked by Amalek. Moshe has Joshua lead the army in the battle against Amalek. Moshe, Aharon, and Hur stand on the top of a hill overlooking the battle. When Moshe raises his hands then the Jewish army prevails in the battle.

Haftarah Summary

The haftarah comes from Judges 4:4 – 5:31, according to the Ashkenazi tradition. Sephardim read only from Judges 5:1 – 31.

During the days of Deborah / Devora the prophetess, the Jewish people were oppressed by the Canaanite king Jabin and his general Sisera. Devora directed Barak to attack and defeat the Canaanite army. After the defeat of Sisera, Devora and Barak sang a song to celebrate.

Further Reading

Here’s an article on Parshat Beshalach which discusses lessons we can learn about bitachon and hishtadlut.