Thursday, April 12, 2012

Splitting Your Own Sea

by Rabbi Aron Moss - Nefesh

Question of the Week: Why did the Israelites have to pass through the Red Sea? On my map of the Middle East, the route from Egypt to Israel is directly through the desert. The sea is totally out of the way. G-d led them on a detour, trapping them between the sea and the chasing Egyptians, and then split the sea. Does G-d have no sense of direction? 

Answer: The Israelites passing through the Red Sea was not a geographical necessity, but a spiritual one. At the Red Sea, we were shown the power of the human soul. 

The earth is comprised of oceans and continents, sea and dry land. The difference between the two is that on dry land, all is open and visible. The trees, animals, mountains and people that occupy it are all easily recognisable. The sea on the other hand is a big blue expanse of mystery. Though the sea is teeming with life, when you look at it you can identify nothing, all is hidden beneath the surface. 

So it is with a person. Our personality has two layers: our sea, and our land. What we know of ourselves, our visible strengths, our tested talents and our known abilities, the elements of our character that we are aware of, these comprise the dry land of our personality. But below the surface of our character lies a vast sea of latent talents, inner strengths and untapped abilities that we never knew we had. In the depth of our soul lies a reserve of dormant energy waiting to be discovered. This is our sea, and even we ourselves are unaware of what lies there. How can we access this reservoir of potential? 

How can our sea become dry land? There is only one way. And we know it from the encounter at the Red Sea. 

The Israelites had their back to the wall: Egyptians closing in on one side, a raging sea threatening on the other. They had only two options, despair or faith. Logic and reason demanded that they give in. There was no possible way out of their predicament. But faith demanded that they keep marching to the Promised Land. Sea or no sea, this is the path that G-d has led us, so we have to have faith and march on. And so they did. 

It was at that moment, when hopelessness was countered by faith, that the impossible happened, and the sea opened up to become dry land. The most formidable obstacle dissolved into nothingness, without a struggle, just with faith. The people became empowered exactly when they acknowledged G-d as the only true power. By surrendering themselves to a higher force, they discovered the force within them. They split their own sea. 

The Jewish people are no strangers to times of challenge. At the very birth of our nation, we needed to learn how to face these challenges. So G-d took us on a detour to the sea and opened it up for us. He was telling every Jew for all times: Obstacles are not interruptions to the journey, they are the journey. Keep marching towards the Promised Land. Every challenge along the way will give you deeper insight and renewed power. Just have faith. It will split your sea.


Anonymous said...

The reason Moshe did not use the land route? A simple answer is usually the best. The Egyptians could have, and would have continued pursuing Israel if the land route had been taken. By diverting through the Red Sea, the Egyptian threat was eliminated. And not only was it eliminated, but the Egyptians were destroyed "by water," which was the same "measure" used by the Egyptians in their attempt to destroy, not just the firstborn males of Israel, but the very individual who would eventually lead Israel out of Egypt. The first born of Egypt had already died in the 10th plague but the remainder of the Egyptian men (of war) were now attempting to eradicate everyone else. Heavenly decrees and the justice that invariably follows, conform to the character of the crime that invoked the decree.

Christopher Darren Horn said...

Whoa! That was weird. Your graphic with the hebrew writing, when I looked at it, I felt a shock wave move through my body, very intense. What does it mean in english? Really good post,

Thank you.

Devorah said...

It says Ani Ma'amin - I believe
from the 13 Principles of Faith