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Tehillim-The Pesach Psalm-78 IV-Alshich

The 13th of Nisan is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Moshe Alshich: “like the bowmen of Ephraim who played false in the day of battle, they did not keep God’s covenant, they refused to follow His instruction; they forgot His deeds and the wonders that He showed them (Psalms 78 9–11).”


As an example of the incestuous ways of the Evil Inclination, look at the “bowmen of Ephraim.” These people, instead of putting all their trusting God, relied on their own military prowess. This is why they were wiped out by the Philistines when they confronted them (I Chronicles 7:21). Had they relied on God, this would not have happened to them.

Their self-confidence and lack of trust in God’s Providence caused their debacle. They had refused to await redemption at the end of 400 years as had been part of the covenant between God and Abraham.

Anyone who argues that these “bowmen of Ephraim” did not lack in faith but only miscalculated the date of the redemption, is reminded that they failed to heed the promise and warning that the Redeemer would legitimize himself as such with the words, “Pakod yifkod Elokim etchem (Genesis 50:24, Exodus 3:16).”

It had been a tradition going back to the days of Joseph, and the true Redeemer, Moses, did indeed use these words to identify himself to the Children of Israel.

Concerning the second lesson, that future generations should not forget the acts of loving kindness performed by God for His undeserving people, you may well argue that since all these acts are recorded in the Torah, how is it possible to forget them? Why do you have to tell us about them?

Asaph replies that the tour itself is witness that the very generation which had experienced, not just heard about, God’s miracles, had conveniently forgotten what God had shown them. If people could forget what they themselves had seen, how much more so later generations who had never seen these miracles!

The reason Asaph refers to “deeds” as being also “wonders” at the same time, is that each miracle had also produced a side effect.

For example, the plague of Blood also served to enrich the Children of Israel, since the Egyptians, in order to have some water to drink, bought it from the Jews. Similar side effects occurred during all the other plagues. (Alshich HaKadosh, Romemot El)


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