Parashas B’shalach features the majestic story of the People of Israel crossing the Red Sea, and the great salvation of Israel from the Egyptians at the hands of the Al-mighty.
The ancient Israelite, who were on a spiritual high as they crossed through the sea on dry land, cry out to G-d (Exodus 15:11), מִי כָמֹכָה בָּאֵלִם השׁם, “Who is like You, L-rd, among the mighty? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, inspiring in praises, doer of wonders?” They recognise G-d with clarity.
The verse reads וַיַּרְא יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת הַיָּד הַגְּדֹלָה: Israel saw the great Hand of Hashem. Rav Zilberstein explains in his masterful work Aleinu Leshabeach, that one way to enhance our children’s faith and service of HaShem is to focus on all the miracles he does for us every moment, every day. Rab Asher Weiss relates in his introduction to Maseches Pesachim the following story. One seder night, a father was explaining and describing to his family the 50 different miracles that occurred at the splitting at the sea, as described in the Meam Loez. His son turned to him and said, “Why are you so amazed by this? Isn’t it obvious that the almighty who created the sea could split it?
Like all good teachers, the father said “let me answer you with a parable”. There was once an expert sculptor who sculpted a horse that was so lifelike no one could tell it wasn’t a real horse! The sculptor put the horse on display for people to enjoy. The days went past and no one was stopping to admire his handiwork. Finally the sculptor approached a passer-by and asked him why is no one stopping to look at this beautiful piece of artwork? Isn’t it breath-taking? So lifelike!? The person responded “The horse looks so real, no one is interested in looking at it! it just looks like every other horse”. A wise person then gave him an idea; cut your horse in half and then it will certainly draw people’s attention!
Similarly explained the father, if we would be on the spiritual level to be moved by the very existence of the sea and all the miracles we witness on a daily basis, the rising sun, the birth of a child, a beautiful view, then Hashem would not have to had split the sea. Because we have become accustomed to take life’s and its wonders for granted the Rambam explains, there was a need for the creator of the world to show all of mankind who He is.
I remember, when I visited the Niagara Falls in Canada many years ago, I went on a trip on “the maid of the midst”. It was a sensational boat ride around Niagara Falls to appreciate one of the world’s most breath-taking natural wonders. I was with a group of friends and as we boarded, we noticed a blind woman on the tour too. I commented to a friend of mine, “Why would she pay for this? She can’t even see anything!” As the trip progressed it became clear to me. She was enjoying it more than anyone else on board! She was listening to the crashing waves, feeling the cool mist over her body and the sheer delight on her face was obvious. Meanwhile I noticed a teenage boy sitting in the corner playing on his phone, missing one of the world’s most amazing natural wonders! It was a real message to me. We all are guilty of behaving like that boy from time to time, not focusing on the wondrous world we live it and taking it all for granted.
In the period of the redemption we will all be on the level of this blind lady, we will clearly recognise the handiwork of Hashem and recognise each and every small miracle of life and understand that everything in this world is a masterful creation of Hashem as we read in Yeshayahu 11:9 “the earth will be as filled with knowledge of Hashem as water covering the seabed”. May we merit it speedily in our days.