Writing this from Heavenly Mountain, Lake Tahoe and bringing you regards direct from the “Royal Garden”King’s Palace (ah so SO beautiful B”H), you might say this message is divinely inspired.
With a long road to travel back for Shabbos, I’ll get right to my Chiddush:
This week we read about the splendorous miracle of the splitting of the sea, known and “Kriat Yam Suf”. As our sages reveal, the sea and G-d made a deal at creation: the mighty sea would “come to be” if it agreed to split at the designated time in history. This was a condition-precedent, known in Hebrew as a “T’nai”. The sea, fulfilling its part of the bargain, indeed split right when it was told to do so-when Egypt was at our heels ready to make us “walk the plank” right into The Red Sea. After we marched right through, the “walls” came crashing down (along with Egypt) and the sea returned to its “state of creation”.
What is fascinating is that this “deal” is hinted to in the Torah in a strange place-when the Torah describes the actual splitting of the sea no reference is made to the sea’s compliance with this “condition”. This hint, or remez, is saved for the aftermath, when the sea returns to its original glory. “”Vayashov Hayam Lifnot Boker L’EITANO”-“And the Sea returned to its strength”. Here say the Rabbis, don’t read it as L’Eitano, but (switching the letters around) as “L’tnao”-“to its condition”.
Why wait until the aftermath of the event to highlight this spectacular “back story” of this wonder? Wouldn’t the perfect place to mention this be when the sea actually “performed” as agreed-when it actually split?
Anyone with a proper background in English nursery rhymes will know however, that it is one thing to fall down, crash and break, and quite another to put things back together once they have been shattered. Humpty Dumpty may have sat on that wall for a while before he fell, but once he did, no Royal army or Cavalry could do a thing for him.
As I write this, I am schmoozing with a Geschmakke and lively group of “off-piste” or “backcountry” skiers. As they testified, Skiing (or falling!) down the mountain is easy-and (can even be) fun! But Schlepping back up again to the top-well that’s another story. To tear, break and smash takes an instant. But to repair a shattered soul, rebuild a life torn assunder, cure a trauma-filled childhood, that is a challenge that takes nothing less than a miracle to accomplish.
Maybe that is what HaShem is teaching us by marking the “miracle of the sea” not as the SPLIT-the break and the fall, but rather as the RETURN-the rebuild, the repair, the glorious restoration of the purity of creation. The miracle is not reflected in the breaking, but in the fixing.
This Shabbos, let’s grab onto the energy of this Parasha-and find glory not in our mighty “wins” over each other, but in our coming together as one ocean”, one people, back to the purity of creation.
Shabbat Shalom Umevorach!