- Posted by Elaine Zecher
- On February 10, 2017
- 0 Comments
Welcome to Shabbat Awakenings, a weekly reflection as we move toward Shabbat.
There are moments in life when all seems lost. When the situation signals defeat from every angle. There are those feelings that well up to give up. We tumble, fumble and yet hold on for dear life because that is what it means to hope, to believe that all is not yet lost.
It is as if deliverance floats in the air for that brief second and all we need to do is to grasp hold, not to let go, no matter what or who piles on top of us.
Foot by foot, yard by yard, we make our way. One foot balances on the place before it. Steady, with eyes forward, we can’t look back. We must not look back. Though they charge toward us with a determined energy, they forget the Force that drives us forward.
We have survived before because a mental toughness allowed us to persevere.
This is the fourth Torah portion of the book of Exodus. Here is when the Israelites entered the final quarter of their march toward freedom. In the first portion, Sh’mot, the situation looked grim. Though the Israelites seemed to others as overwhelming, and their chosen leader and assistant competent, they descended into a morass of inability to reach their goal. As the second Torah portion, Va’era, opened, there was a sense of promise from past performance of their ancestors but even so, their spirits were crushed by cruel bondage. (Exodus 6:9) By the time they reached the third portion, Bo, a stubborn and hardened opposition faced them though a glimmer of hope started to appear. Pharaoh felt the pressure plague him until he could take it no more. The lane to redemption started to open up. The Israelites moved with what appeared to be a practiced precision to advance forward quickly and with great determination. This was their moment. They entered, Beshalach, the fourth part toward the goal of freedom. They were finally let go. But, freedom had not yet been achieved. Pharaoh had not given up and sent his army to block their way. Moses, their fearless leader, maintained his composure, calmed their anxiety with these words: Have no fear! Stand by, and witness the deliverance…(Exodus 14:13). Frightened, some were unsure whether they had taken the appropriate approach by entering into this threatening existence. At that moment, the Eternal spoke to Moses: “Why do you cry out to Me? Tell [them] to go forward!” (Exodus 14:15) Moses knew what he had to do. He must have said to himself: “Just do your job!”
Standing by the water, he held his arm high, an open path, a lane of redemption awaited. The Israelites marched through the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and their left. (Exodus 14:29)
Freedom never comes easily, but when it does, glory raises us to unforeseen heights. Let it inspire our faith and determination to journey toward the Promised Land!
We have a full Shabbat. Qabbalat Shabbat at 6 p.m., Soul Food Friday at 7 p.m. and Tot Rock at 5 p.m. will fill our sacred spaces. I will be in DC with some of the teens along with Mike Fishbein and Tali Puterman at the Religious Action Center. Torah study on Saturday begins at 9 a.m. with a short service.
I continue to be grateful for your comments, responses and thoughts here.