God’s unwavering protection of a united Jewish nation

In Honor of Sharona and Josh Halickman’s 22nd Anniversary

The prayer “Az Yashir”, “The Song of the Sea” (Shmot 15:14-15) which was sung by B’nai Yisrael after the splitting of the sea and which we recite each morning describes how all of the nations were afraid:

The peoples have heard, they tremble;

Convulsive terror gripped the inhabitants of Philistia.

Then the chieftains of Edom were confounded;

Trembling gripped the powers of Moav;

All of the inhabitants of C’naan dissolved.

Thirty nine years later, Rachav, who was in Jericho, reiterated to the spies that everyone was blown away by the splitting of the sea (Yehishua 2:9-11):

I know that God has given you this land,

And that fear of you has fallen upon us,

And that all the inhabitants of the land have dissolved because of you.

For we have heard how God dried up the water of the Red Sea before you…

And what you did to the two kings of the Amorites…

And as soon as we had heard it, our hearts melted, no spirit remained in any man because of you…

Parshat Chukat (Bamidbar 21:1) states: “The C’naanite King of Arad heard-who lived in the south- that Yisrael had come by the route of the spies; he attacked Yisrael and he took from them a captive.”

What did the king hear and why did he choose that moment to wage a war against Israel?

The Talmud, Rosh HaShana 3a answers:

He heard that Aharon died and that the clouds of glory had departed and he thought that permission had been granted to fight against Israel.

The Talmud, Taanit 9a explains that the well which disappeared after Miriam died and the clouds of glory which disappeared after Aharon died returned in the merit of Moshe. When Moshe died, they all (the well, the clouds of glory and the manna) disappeared.

The C’naanite King of Arad had the wrong idea when he thought that it was now ok to attack B’nai Yisrael. God was still protecting them. They vowed to God (Bamidbar 21:2): “If You will deliver this people into my hand, I shall consecrate their cities.”

In Bamidbar 21:3 we read: “God heard the voice of Yisrael and He delivered the C’naanites into the hand of Yisrael and Yisrael destroyed them and consecrated their cities; and the region was named Chorma (consecration).”

We see that when B’nai Yisrael made the vow they were united. God listened to their united voice and helped them destroy their enemies. Even after Moshe passed away and Yehoshua took over, God continued to help B’nai Yisrael conquer the Land of Israel and inherit it.

In order to merit God’s protection from our enemies, the Jewish people must join together in unity.