Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. — Exodus 14:21–22
Today is Day 4 of the eight-day Passover celebration. The Torah reading for today is from Exodus 22:24–23:19 and Numbers 28:19–25.
On the night of Passover, we retell and relive the Exodus story so that we can fully integrate God’s salvation and presence in our lives. At the heart of the Exodus story is the parting of the Red Sea. According to Jewish tradition, the sea did not part until the children of Israel began to walk into it. It was this great demonstration of faith that caused the sea to part.
I think there was an even greater expression of faith than walking into the sea; it was walking throughthe sea “with a wall of water on their right and on their left.” Imagine walking through that great sea with walls of water on either side, walls that could come crashing down at any moment! To me, that took even greater courage and faith.
While it’s admirable and commendable to take the proverbial leap of faith from time to time, it’s far more challenging to walk in faith, day in and day out. We may take a new job on faith, but living day to day believing that our needs will be met and that the paycheck will cover the expenses is another level of faith. Life is fragile and things can go wrong at any moment. Walking in faith means going down the risky path of life trusting that everything will be alright.
Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, an eighteenth-century rabbi, used to say, “The whole world is a very narrow bridge. And the main thing is to never be afraid.” Our lives are a walk across a narrow bridge. One wrong step to the left or to the right, and we will fall. The rabbi teaches us that we must turn our fears into faith in order to pass safely through.
In the Talmud, Judaism’s oral tradition, the Sages teach that there are three miracles even greater than the parting of the Red Sea: One, when a person finds his or her soul-mate; two, when a person finds a source of income; and three, when a person maintains a healthy body. These realities that we often take for granted are greater than the parting of the Red Sea. But, even greater than finding a spouse, an income, or health is “walking through them” like the Israelites walked through the Red Sea – full of faith when, at any moment, the waves can come crashing down.
Passover is a time for recognizing the great miracles in life and trusting that they will continue to be present in our lives. We must walk through our lives together with God, day after day, with boundless gratitude and endless faith.