Commentary on Parashat Beshalach, Exodus 13:17 - 17:16
Woody Allen has said that 90% of life is showing up. Maybe his number is too high but being willing to get involved, to step out, to show up, to make the phone call, to make the appointment, to introduce yourself, can bring outsized results. Taking the initiative can give you momentum to carry you to your goals.
In our parashah this week the Israelites left Egypt and were cornered at the sea by on-rushing Egyptians. The Israelites were terrified and about to give up hope. The only one who had the courage to walk into the sea and follow Moses’s instructions was a man named Nachshon. As the story goes, he walked in past his ankles, past his knees, past his waist, and kept on going even though it didn’t seem that the water would ever recede. Only when it was past his neck did the Red Sea open up, and because of him the children of Israel were able to pass through on dry land.
There are times when life is really difficult. Issues can hit us from all sides. Whether it’s financial, academic or social or even of a more serious nature like disability, illness or loss, it can feel as if we are drowning in a sea of difficult problems. But the way forward can be as simple as just going forward even though it may feel that one is walking straight into impossibility. This takes faith that something will open up if one has the courage to go forward, to keep on going until something becomes just a little bit easier and a path becomes visible.
TALK TO YOU KIDS about the courage it takes to be like Nachshon, the first to walk into the Sea of Reeds.
CONNECT TO THEIR LIVES:
· Do you ever go first? Is it scary? What makes it so?
· When do you think it is important to go first even when it is scary?
· How many times have you missed opportunities because you did not show up or did not put yourself forward?
· What issues in your life hold you back?
· What are the best ways to address these issues?
© Copyright 2010 Joyce and Fred Claar
From “Values and Ethics: Torah Topics for Today,” available from Behrman House Publishers.
Pronunced: TORE-uh, Origin: Hebrew, the Five Books of Moses.