Az Yashir: You Stretched Out Your Right Hand
נטית ימינך תבלעמו ארץ
You stretched out Your right hand – the earth swallowed them.
The Gemara in Chagigah (5b) uses a similar expression: “Yado n’tuyah aleinu – His Hand is outstretched upon us,” which Rashi says means that Hashem’s hand is stretched out to protect us. HaRav Avigdor Miller zt”l explains that “natisa y’mincha” means forever.
“Tivla’eimo aretz,” he explains, means that not only were the Egyptians swallowed up by the earth, but all our enemies will eventually be buried under the soil. In the words of HaRav Avigdor Miller (in Praise, My Soul) on “tivla’eimo aretz”:
This shall be the fate of all the enemies, that they shall be buried in the earth. Egypt eventually disappeared; the remnants of its ancient glory lie buried under the soil. Edom, Ammon, Moab, the Canaanite peoples, the Philistines, Tyre, the Hittite and Sumerian nations, Aram, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, the Greek empire, and the Roman empire, all lie buried in the earth. Israel alone survives to walk upon the graves of its enemies in which Hashem buried them, because His right hand remains outstretched forever (עדיין ידו נטויה עלינו – His hand is still outstretched – Chagigah 5b) and תבלעמו ארץ – “the earth (forever) shall swallow” the enemy.
HaRav Yaakov Emden famously wrote that a miracle that is even greater than the miracles that Hashem performed at Y’tzias Mitzrayim is the fact that, despite all the periods throughout history where nations have attempted to destroy and annihilate us, we are still alive and thriving through the great chesed of Hashem. Our great chachamim are alive every day through their words of Torah, which are being learned around the clock by hundreds of thousands.
HaRav Emden wrote his words before the Holocaust. What would he write today, had he witnessed the atrocities of the Holocaust and, now, a mere 80 years later, would have witnessed over one million of us celebrating the Siyum HaShas around the world, many tens of thousands learning full time in yeshivos and kollelim around the world, s’farim being written about every aspect of halachah and hashkafah, tens of thousands or more working people learning Torah in various structured daily programs, with such an abundance and variety of quality magidei shiur, and resources to aid us in our learning regardless of our level and background? What would he write upon witnessing the astounding and vast amounts of chesed being performed around the world, unprecedented financial standard of living, and so much more chasdei Hashem? Imagine telling a survivor in 1945 that he will merit to see three generations of offspring living the spiritual lives that we live today, with most people living more comfortably than ever before in history!
Perhaps we are living the greatest miracle ever in history, and yet in such a short period of time, we have already become so accustomed to all of this that we sometimes fail to contemplate and properly appreciate the love and care behind the great chesed that Hashem continues to bestow upon us. May we merit to continue to receive Hashem’s great chasadim and devote the time and energy to properly contemplate, fully appreciate, and verbalize our gratitude and appreciation to Hashem for His love, care, and wondrous chasadim that we merit to receive day after day, breath after breath.