Pesach: Crossing the Sea
Thursday, April 24, 2008
I apologize for those who have received this already...
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Since we just switched servers and changed the way the emails are being sent out, if you’ve been in contact with me over the past year or so for whatever reason, can you just reply with a quick “Got it!” That should be a good test to make sure everybody is still getting the emails clearly.
Okay, on to Torah!The seventh day of Pesach commemorates the crossing of the Yam Suf (pronounced “soof”, translation: Red Sea).
When the Jewish people reached the shores of the Yam Suf and saw the entire Egyptian army bearing down on them, they cried out:
“… for it is better that we should serve Egypt than that we should die in the Wilderness!” (Shemos 14:12)
In which Hashem responded (to Moshe):
“Why do you cry out to Me? Speak to the Children of Israel and let them journey!”
In Egypt itself, at least 80% of the Jewish population was killed in the Plague of Darkness. Not all the slavery in Egypt was back breaking labour. Many of the people had more “cushioned” jobs and weren’t so inclined to leave their lifestyle (those same people have been reincarnated as Israeli government officials). Hence, they never left Egypt. Now the nation arrives at the Yam Suf where there is nowhere to go. Here Hashem says, ‘Go!’ and we were forced to take His word and begin crossing.
Nachshon ben Aminadav was the first to go in. He took several steps and nothing happened. He continued on until the water was at his waste and nothing happened. Only until the water level reached his nose did the sea split for the entire nation.
My Rosh Yeshiva gave one of his best talks on this topic a few years ago and unfortunately, I cannot do justice to the hour talk, by putting it in a very short essay form.
The Torah isn’t just a history book; it’s a book on life and how to live it.
The episode of the Yam Suf represents our life when we come to a situation where it seems impossible to continue. A great example I thought of is that of a young couple who come to start off their marriage in Israel sitting in learning. After a year goes by, they look and begin to worry: what about our finances? Yes, we still have money in the bank, but we don’t want to use that and we aren’t making much profit by living here. So, in fear of the future, they move back to America and leave the potential behind.
In this case, the Yam Suf of this couple was their financial situation. They were going in the path that Hashem desires, by living a life in holiness and learning Torah, and they came to the Yam Suf, their financial future. What’s going to happen? How can we possibly continue? If we do, we won’t be making any money! The path is blocked! It’s impossible to carry on!
So they never crossed.
Can you imagine what the results in their lives might have been had they continued? What happened to Israel after they crossed? They were given Mun to eat and then the Torah shortly after! By having emunah, faith, in Hashem, they moved on and grew from the experience. So too is the affect when we reach our individual Yam Sufs and move on with emunah.
It’s a concept that is quite difficult to grasp, however, at least here in Eretz Yisroel, it’s so easy to see in either your life or the life of others. When all hope seems to be lost, salvation comes from nowhere. When you dedicate your life to improving yourself and coming closer to Hashem, then He too will come closer to you and split the sea. But before that sea is split, you MUST begin to cross it with emunah.
Most people never leave Egypt. They are comfortable where they are and have no intention of every leaving. But those who DO want to grow and do want to leave Egypt, should be warned that there will be the Yam Suf standing in your way. Each person has their Yam Suf tailored to their growth and each Yam Suf is crossable. It takes a strong sense of emunah to make it split… but it will and the spiritual growth your will experience will be great!
With that thought I leave you with a great Shabbos and Pesach!
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