Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
It's the same people. Exactly the same people, and it's almost impossible to grasp. In this week's Torah portion of Beshalach, we observe people singing the Song of the Sea. From their mouths we hear majestic words such as "The Lord will reign forever and ever" and "Who is like you among the mighty, O Lord?" Yet later in the same Torah portion, from the mouths of the very same people, we hear the following words: "If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat over pots of meat," and also: "Why have you brought us up from Egypt?". How can those who a moment ago went out from slavery to freedom and sang about it with tremendous joy suddenly claim that Egypt was just "pots of meat?" How do they dare to say that Moshe and Aaron are taking them to die in the desert and that it would be preferable to return to Egypt and to die there?
The Torah, by intention, does not only tell us only the uplifting side of the story. It rather throws the truth in our face, even when it's unpleasant: a person can leave Egypt and witness the splitting of the Red Sea, yet ignore the miracle that happened a moment earlier, seeing only what is lacking and complain. We can always choose upon what to place our focus, whether to sing the "Song of the Sea" or to mutter the "Complaint of the Sea." This was true for our ancestors during the Exodus from Egypt and remains also true for us, in this very moment.