Monday, November 26, 2012

The Trial at Sea - and of Matrimony

Seeing the Egyptian army quickly gaining on them, the Jews, who hastily made their famous exodus from slavery 7 days earlier, were frightened. They faced the sea and felt trapped as the Egyptian chariots were closing fast. In those apprehensive moments, Torah tells us the Jews divided into 4 opinions as how to react. One group wanted to fight; The other to pray; Another to surrender; and the other, to commit suicide.

You'd think one of them would get it right, but not one did. Said Hashem to Moshe, "Tell them to go forward!" Which is exactly what Moshe did; He said, "Keep going!" (Ex.14:15)

By the way, here you have a clear indication the Moses of every generation knows that which Jews, otherwise, would never know were it not for their leader with whom God communicates.

The Jews were afraid; People started saying, "Oh no, I'm not going first." Just then, the leader of the tribe of Yehuda took the initiative and said, "I'll go first!". Only after the waters reached his nostrils did God split the sea and provide the Jews with a dry path to advance into. (Mechilta Beshalach 5; Sotah 27a)

You can imagine the tribulation Jews suffered with a mighty army closing in behind them and a dreadful sea they were ordered to enter in front of them.

To what do our sages compare these moments of tribulation?

To finding a marriage mate!

Finding the right person requires much of what the leader of the tribe of Yehuda, Nachshon ben Aminadav, had and did. You have to be committed to following Hashem's directives, to the extent that not everything needs to be discovered from the start. Things will work out for the best if the attitude to obey God's command to marry (for it is indeed a mitzvah) is paramount. If you would just take the plunge - without too many calculations, you'd discover that that which appears as an awesome sea before you, will split, and a smooth road will lay ahead. Do your part, and trust in God, and God then chimes in to help you on the road you want to follow.

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