Friday, February 10, 2006

How to Split a Sea

Some of you have asked for a short email for Shabbat table-talk. If you do or don’t want to receive this via email, please let me know.

This week we see the Jews leaving Egypt, some 2-3 million people, including a large group of Egyptians who knew a good thing when they saw it.

They’re not gone a week when Pharaoh changes his mind once again, and chases after them with hundreds of fierce chariots. The frightened ex-slaves are trapped at the edge of the Reed Sea (don’t ask me why it became known as the Red Sea). How do you think they felt?

They complained to Moses, “You took us out of Egypt to kill us? You should have left us there – better to be slaves and alive than free and dead!”
Moses asks God what’s going on.

God says, stop yammering and get moving. The problem is, the only place to move was into the sea itself. That’s was the point. The Jews had sunk so low in Egypt that they’d used up all their good karma just getting out, and they needed a small act of faith to get the sea to split. The first to understand this was Moses’s brother-in-law, Nachshon, who jumped in and started walking. When the water reached his neck, the sea split.

If you have kids around (or kids at heart?), try telling them this story, and then ask, “Who can show us what Nachshon did?” and one of the younger ones will pretend to jump into the Sea until the water splits. You can have another child play Moses, with his outstretched arm.

We’re not meant to wait around for miracles to happen but to take action. It also teaches us that one person can truly make a difference.


Shabbat Shalom

3 comments:

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Good lesson!

Claudio said...

I didn't understand it (sorry, bad english). I didn't get specially the sentence "the Jews had sunk so low in Egypt that they’d used up all their good karma just getting out, and they needed a small act of faith to get the sea to split".
Could I have another explanation, please?

Rabbi Seinfeld said...

A miracle does not happen unless a person merits it. Good karma means "spiritual merit".