In this week’s Parsha, B’shalach, the Jewish people find themselves on the beach of the Red Sea with the entire Egyptian army behind them ready to destroy them. They turn to HaShem in prayer along with Moshe, their leader. HaShem tells Moshe that they prayed enough “Tell the people to travel into the Sea.” The implication was that when they will travel into the Sea they will be saved as in fact happened. The leaders of the people followed by their people literally marched into the sea until they could go no further and then the sea split forming a floor of dry land.
The question is, if HaShem accepted their prayers and was going to save them why was it necessary for them to first travel into the sea and only then the sea would split? Could HaShem not split the sea immediately? What was the point of this challenge?
Before we return to this question I would like to share with you a game that I played with my seven year old daughter. When entering our home there is a small staircase of seven steps going up. I would place my daughter on the third step up. I stood at the bottom with outstretched arms ready to catch her. I then instructed her to jump into my arms. It was bit unnerving but with enough prompting and cajoling she jumped. After practicing this a number of times I moved her up one step and began the routine again. We continued this until she was able to jump off the top step straight into my arms. This game generated an exhilarating thrill. The reason for this exhilaration was that she was able to do something that she would never have been capable of doing if she did not have complete trust in her father. There is perhaps nothing more exhilarating than going beyond your limits with the knowledge that you will succeed. Furthermore, by throwing all her trust in her father she created a very strong bond between herself and her father. That too can be exhilarating.
Let us return to our question. Why did HaShem want that we should start marching into the sea if He was going to split it anyway?
With our Exodus from Egypt HaShem was creating a people for Himself. It was to be a nation that He and they would have an inseparable relationship. To create such a strong bond it was necessary that this people should be able to place their entire trust in their Director and know that they can count on Him. HaShem therefore designed this impossible situation thereby causing the people to jump into His waiting Arms to be caught by Him. This experience embedded into the deepest recesses of the Jewish soul the trust that we can have in HaShem and the courage to do whatever HaShem wants from us. We have nothing to fear. There is nothing that we cannot accomplish. All we need to do is act with the knowledge that HaShem will make it work. Even if the result is impossible to achieve we will succeed at that as well.
Have a wonderful Shabbos.