how could so many people leave at one time?
Amazingly, in our own day we have already forgotten that “Hundreds of thousands of… refugees streamed homeward…” [Rwandan refugees; James C. McKinley Jr. of The New York Times in the Los Angeles Daily News. Saturday, November 16, 1996.] Refugees all over the world seek shelter and comfort.
And when our ancestors left Egypt, they were pursued by Pharaoh, his horsemen and chariots. We found ourselves trapped between the Egyptians and the sea. The Hebrew name is ים סף Yam Suf or possibly Yam Sof: a Sea of Endings. At times each one of us becomes a refugee, perhaps not political, but emotional. We flee pain and darkness that threaten us. We stand before the sea, pursued by our fears, either imagined or real.
Then, the Midrash tells us, one man, Nachshon by name, displayed his commitment to freedom by walking into the sea. Only at the moment when the water reached his neck, when he could go no further on his own, did the sea part. His act of faith and courage opened the way from Egypt to freedom. He enabled us all to be reborn into freedom.
where is this place “Egypt,” is it the Egypt we know?
Yes, though only the name of the place is the same, the people have changed. In fact we are at peace and allied with the Egypt of today.
The Egypt of the Haggadah is more than a place, it is more than a nation state, it is a state of mind.
Our Hebrew word for that place is “Mitzra’yim” מִצְרַיִם, that is: the straits, or narrows. The geographical Mitzra’yim is a pinched green strip of land in the midst of desert along the shores of the Nile River, which throughout history has provided the minimum 2.5 gallons of water per day to sustain life. The metaphorical Mitzra’yim is any restriction.
think of all the thirsts we have.
We have all come through that tight passage, split the waters of what seemed to be an ending, only to begin anew, to search for a new way, often struggling for as long as forty years.
As with Nachshon, so also for us, we can only achieve our salvation through our own willingness to take risks.
what risk might I take to help us achieve our goals?
what is “#blogexodus”?
My friend and colleague Phyllis Sommers has thought of yet a new creative way to prepare for Peasach. You can learn more here.