As someone who survived the huge traffic jams in the North this week, I certainly understand the plight of the hundreds of ships and vessels trapped in the huge traffic jam in the Gulf waters, following the huge container ship that got stuck and blocked the Suez Canal.
I think there is a problem there in Egypt. This is not the first time in history that an impassable sea passage in the Egyptian region has caused a huge crisis.
It happened 3,333 years ago. True, then it was not a container ship carrying goods, but an entire people marching to freedom. And not in the waters of the Suez Canal but rather in front of the waters of the Red Sea. Yet even then as today the cause of the malfunction was an unfortunate human error that divided the people at a critical moment, halted progress, and caused a mighty traffic jam.
This is how the commission of inquiry set up by the sages of Israel to examine the issue informed us:
“Four sects became the people of Israel on the sea: One says to fall into the sea, and one says to return to Egypt, and one says to make war against them, and one says to shout against them.”
Even then, just like today, instead of joining forces and finding the right way to get out of the crisis, the people of Israel did what they know best to do, and immediately split into four stubborn and uncompromising blocs. The bloc of change declared “just not Moses,” and to that end even agreed to return to Egypt. In contrast, a bloc “only without Arabs” stood and declared that it was finished with Egypt, even if it meant going to war. The desperate majority had already preferred to fall into the sea and go to another election. From the side stood the irresponsible media and as usual screamed against everyone and only increased the commotion.
And so, and at a particularly critical moment in the history of the people, we found ourselves in such a complicated and complex situation that it seems that only a supernatural miracle would be able to solve it and rescue us from the tangle, and finally bring us to the Promised Land.
And that is exactly what happened on the seventh day of Passover. “Speak to the children of Israel and they shall go,” God instructed Moses, who raised his hand and miraculously tore the Red Sea – the sea of doubts, the sea of fears, the sea of “natural circumstances” – and for one short but powerful moment, the water split and the Divine truth was revealed. And when it was revealed, all the controversies and all the fears disappeared in an instant. The supernatural faith was revealed, which allowed us to walk boldly into the stormy sea and pass through it on dry land.
“The first savior is the last savior,” and just as only Moshe Rabbeinu managed in time to save him from ourselves, so it is today, we need a redeemer who will split the sea for us and march us to redemption. This is why every year on the seventh day of Passover, the day we first tasted the taste of redemption, we hold the “Feast of the Messiah,” in which we drink four glasses of redemption in order to strengthen faith and anticipation of its coming. It may once have seemed like something imaginary, but in today’s reality, and considering the chances of a government being formed here, you will agree with me that the coming of the Messiah suddenly seems like the most realistic possibility.
Happy holiday and geula shleima – complete redemption!
The writer is the Chabad emissary to the new northern neighborhoods and rabbi of the Sea & Sun Synagogue in Tel Aviv.