All parshiot are great, though perhaps some are difficult to relate to, but every year Parshat B’Shalach really gets to me. An inspirational story with a practical lesson as well. Talk about drama and the suspense. Hashem finally took out B’nei Yisrael from Mitzrayim, they are free to go, only they find themselves facing the biggest challenge yet. I mean, don’t we find that is true in life as well? Just when think we finally got through a tough situation/time and we finally made it out, we find ourselves bombarded with the next challenge, which just seems even more impossible.
We are all so used to the story of Kriat Yam Suf, but can you just imagine what it must have felt like to be there? They are completely and utterly trapped. There is a large body of water in front of them and the Egyptians are chasing them. There is absolutely no where for them to go. For us we’re like, “Well, if you can’t go around it, go through it- go through the water. Just ask Hashem to create a path of dry land for you.” They did not have boats and it must have seemed like there was no way out. Scary thought: Wait a minute. We thought the best thing that could happen to us is to be free from slavery. Now we’re free. What if the freedom that we’ve longed for is actually worse?
New situations can be scary. Sometimes we’re afraid to leave bad situations because knowledge and familiarity is comforting, and jumping into a situation where you don’t know what’s flying can be terrifying, even if you know intellectually that it is better. There is always that fear that perhaps even though it is supposed to be better, it won’t be. So B’nei Yisrael panic for a second. Moshe urges them to hang in there and wait and see the amazing way Hashem is going to save them.
And then, just as they think it is over, that there is nowhere to turn, the naturally impossible happens. Hashem performs a miracle and they walk on dry land through the water. Though Hashem doesn’t perform miracles that defy nature today, we can still learn the lesson that even situations that seem impossible to overcome have a solution. We can always hope and always turn to Hashem.
Another reason I love this week’s parsha is because of the amazing faith of the Jewish people, particularly the Jewish women who prepared musical instruments for the time of redemption. When you’re in a bad situation, you are often stuck in a bad mindset that doesn’t allow you to think about a time when things will be better. Thinking that, “Things will get better, and to prove it, I better get ready for it,” is a great lesson as well.
This reminds me of one of my favorite stories, the origin of which I unfortunately I do not know. The story is told of a town that was suffering a lack of rainfall and the drought was so serious that it was threatening their survival. The community gathered together and prayed, they fasted, and prayed some more. Nothing seemed to be working. Finally, someone from the town approached the Rabbi and begged him to do something. The Rabbi thought for a while and told the entire community to gather together in the field to pray together for rain. Every single person, all men, women, children, gathered together outside at the appointed time. When the Rabbi shows up he looked out at the entire community and asked, “Do you believe that it is going to rain?” “Yes!” they shouted in unison. But the Rabbi asked again, “Do you really, truly, believe that it is going to rain?” Again, they all replied that they did. The Rabbi then asked a simple question, “So, nu, where are all of your umbrellas?!”
Parshat B’Shalach teaches us that Hashem can save us at any moment, no matter how desperate a situation may seem. If we really have faith that Hashem will save us, then we have to show that we are ready for it.
Have a good shabbos!