Rav Gedalia Shor points out something very interesting. We find in last week’s parsha that Moshe Rabbeinu had to cajole the Jews to take booty from the Egyptian homes before the Exodus. Yet Chazal tell us that in regard to the Yam Suf, he had to urge them away from the loot. Why was it that the Bnei Yisrael all of the sudden had a change of heart?
It seems as human beings we have a capacity to become excited, and in our excitement we redefine our priorities. However, when that excitement wanes, many times we fall back to our old set of values, disregarding the insight that we just had (Do we feel today as we did during the aseres yimei teshuva?) When klal Yisrael left Egypt they were excited about following Hashem through the wilderness. The euphoria wore off rather quickly when they came to a no-win situation at Yam Suf with no place to go. Their goal at this time became similar to a chore and it seemed insurmountable. Even after the miracles of the Yam Suf, which as we say in the hagadah were at least five times greater than all of the miracles in Egypt, they still were not able to experience that exalted level that had when they left Egypt. Therefore, after krias Yam Suf, they returned to their natural tendencies and wanted to go after the spoils. This may sound like a shortcoming, but it seems to me that this is also an unbelievable opportunity. For now, Klal Yisrael had seen time and again that Hashem is backing them, but they still needed to work to achieve a higher goal. However, they now felt that they had Hashem’s backing.
We stand right now between Rosh Chodesh Shevat and Tu B’shavat, a time that we are thinking about Spring. Yet we are in the dead of Winter. The germination and growth that take place under the blankets of snow and puddles of rain are truly fights against the elements to persevere and blossom. However, each seed and those sleeping trees had a glimpse of summer just a few months ago. In a sense, this is what gives them the ability to see the shining light at the end of the tunnel, and forge forward. Though we have been in golus for many years, we too as a nation fortify ourselves every year when we talk about this fantastic event of the Exodus from Egypt. This gives us the courage to endure the cold and dark times of golus, to foster and bring about the ultimate geula. Just as the Jews in the midbar got sidetracked by the gold and silver that was abound, so too do we get sidetracked by the every day life in which we find ourselves. It takes a Moshe Rabbeinu or the Gedolei Yisrael of each generation to make us focus on our ultimate mission. We too, when singing Hashem’s praises, should not be focusing on those praises of the physical blessings we are left with. Rather, just as our forefathers did, our main praise of Hashem should be that He uses us to glorify His name.