Where Every Jew is Family

Trouble in Mid-East Waters

Trapped by the enemy, what are our men and women to do?  It seems the only option is to just jump in the water.

In fact, there were different ideas about what they should do when the Jews reached this impasse.

Some voted to just give up.  There are soldiers on one side, the sea on the other.  We’re doomed, let’s just forget it.

Others voted to pray.  There’s nothing to do but pray and hope that G-d will get us out of this.

Then there was the final, and correct, option.  Just go.  Sure, this looks impossible, but G-d led them all the way from Egyptian slavery and He knows what He’s doing.  There were no technical malfunctions in their G-dly navigation systems and they just have to trust in Him.  In fact, it was one man, Nachshon, who started to walk into the sea.  When it got up to his head and he was almost unable to go any further, the sea split and the Jews were able to continue.

The lesson, I think, is clear.  When we have a command from G-d, giving up is not an option.  And while it’s important to pray, it can’t be in a way that just leaves everything in the hands of G-d.  We need to do our part, to the best of our ability, to fulfill what He wants us to do.  And when we do that, we will see that, just like the sea, all apparent obstacles will part and we’ll be able to accomplish what it is He wants.

“But Rabbi, you don’t understand how difficult this obstacle is! It’s impossible for me to do that.”

I understand your objection.  And you think crossing the sea IS possible?  Don’t worry, it’s not for us to solve all of the problems.  That’s G-d’s job.  We just have to do what we’re supposed to and He’ll take care of the rest.

This Wednesday marks the 65th anniversary of when the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, accepted the mantle of leadership of Chabad.

In his first address to his followers, he said that while he, as Rebbe, is here to help, it’s up to us to do our own service of G-d.  We can’t just hang on to his coattails and enjoy the ride.  We have to, like Nachshon, jump into the water and do our part.

So, I encourage you to find a mitzvah that you have felt was too hard for you to accomplish (just one) and start making it happen.  You can’t wait until all of the conditions are perfect.  That will never happen.  As the mishnah says, “if not now, when?!” (Pirkei Avot 1:14).

Have a great week!
~Rabbi Yossi

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