Shalom, Hi There
Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for
Friday, January 22nd
Light Candles at 16:23
Shabbat, January 23rd,
Shabbat Ends 17:45
Torah Portion: Beshalach
Ever feel like there’s nowhere to turn? Like you’re boxed in, with no way out?
Imagine how the Jews felt as they came upon the impassable Sea of Reeds, while the murderous Egyptians closed in on them from the rear.
This week’s Torah reading describes the Jews’ liberation from cruel Egyptian slavery, and how their former captors then set after them in hot pursuit.
When the Jews came to the sea they were trapped.
Some Jews advocated surrender, some resistance, some felt they should cast themselves into the sea rather than return to their cruel slave-masters. Some Jews just began to pray.
G-d’s directive was to do none of the above. The instruction was “Keep moving!”
The Jews were heading toward Mount Sinai, a very worthwhile destination. If they believed in their goal, and trusted in G-d, there was no need for other strategies; it wasn’t even a time for prayer. They needed to forge ahead.
True, the obstacles seemed insurmountable. They had reason for despair.
So G-d taught them a critical lesson: When they put their heads down and soldiered on, armed with trust in G-d, a miracle happened.
The sea split.
And they were now finally, truly, free of the Egyptians. Leaving Egypt’s geographical boundaries had been only the beginning of their liberation. Crossing the sea meant finally escaping their captors for good.
The Torah’s narratives are more than historical accounts; they are also our personal story. You and I need to read the Torah in our individual keys, and find direction for our respective, contemporary lives.
The Exodus is our story.
And here”s how: The Hebrew word for Egypt (mitzrayim) can also mean limitations and strictures (meitzarim in Hebrew). So, aside from its profound historical significance, the Exodus is a model for our own extrication from the mindsets, fears and attitudes that keep us trapped.
You and I need to leave ‘Egypt’, i.e. transcend our personal hurdles, every day.
But the narrative teaches that even leaving Egypt isn’t necessarily the ultimate freedom; Egypt can chase us. Even when we think we’ve gotten past a specific personal challenge, it may catch up with us again. We may feel trapped, and begin to accept that there really is no escaping this personal hang-up.
So G-d tells us “keep moving” toward you Mount Sinai. Keep your eye on the prize and have faith in your loving G-d.
Seas can split.
Rabbi Yanky Klein
This post is In Loving memory of my dear father
R’ Yerachmiel Binyamin Halevi ben R, Menachem Klein OBM