We are almost at the shore of the Sea of Reeds, in a place called Pi HaChirot. This can be translated as the Mouth of Freedom (cherut). To the north is Baal Tzafon, representing the unknown and imminent danger. To the south is the larger Red Sea. The word is out that the Pharaoh has had a change of heart and had assembled his army to bring back the Israelites. Freeing the Israelites would mean economic doom for his regime.
So, everyone is stuck. The people are stuck. They can taste freedom at the Mouth of Freedom, but they can’t move. How can they enter the Sea of Reeds? They complain to Moses. Moses is stuck and he doesn’t know what to do. The Pharaoh has been stuck, constantly wrestling with his heart, from obstinacy to a recognition of his sinfulness. His servants and subjects are in pain, also suffering from his leadership. A national, moral and existential spiritual crisis is paralyzing everyone.
We all face times in our lives when we feel stuck, when life decisions are needed but we lack the courage, the wisdom and loving support to move forward. We, sadly, see how our leaders, too, get stuck and cannot do what is right, for one’s own souls and for the greater good.
Where’s God in all of this? Wasn’t it God’s big idea to free the people in the first place? So, when Moses cries out to God, God's response is “why cry out to me, tell the children of Israel to move (into the water).” In other words, have faith, take the risk, affirm your universal right to freedom.
Every generation, our sages teach us, faces these same choices. Each of us, personally, is called in our lives to be free, to take the risk, to have hope and the faith to overcome obstacles.
May we discover or rediscover the faith and courage to move forward. Come for Shabbes if you can. Also, consider coming to our March Shabbaton where a “rebbe” of Holistic healing and wellness skills will be our special guest. She knows a lot about helping folks get unstuck. Her name is Marilyn Spenadel. B’Shalom, Reb David