Everyone’s Personal Red Sea

I am walking alone in the rain on the seventh night of Pesach.  This is the day we cross the ים סוף, the Red (or Reed) Sea, in our final escape from Egypt.  The Torah describes a night of terror, of howling winds with the threat of פרעה, Pharoah and his army breathing down our necks.

We learn that although we were assured that if we just started walking, the waters would part and we’d cross safely on dry land, everyone was, rightly, afraid to start.  The Midrash teaches that נחשון בן אמינדב, Nachshon Ben Aminadav finally started to walk into the sea.  It didn’t part magically with his first step, nor did it when he was waist deep or even neck deep, but he continued to walk until, giving up on all logic, he was in over his head.  Only then did the miracle occur.

This is an old story that’s familiar to even most Sunday School children.  What I realized walking alone that night, just a couple days ago, was that everyone one of us is Nachshon, that each of us walks alone and needs to gather our own resolve.  The darkness and storms and heavy seas won’t part for us because of someone else’s courage, but we each need to make the personal decision to move forward.

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