Passover may be awhile away, but our recent Torah portions are getting us mentally geared up and ready for the celebration of freedom, describing the newly liberated Israelites leaving Egypt to begin anew. Just when it seemed that they were “home free,” they were horrified to find themselves cornered. Their former slave owners were rushing in to capture them, and the sea itself hemmed them in.
At this moment, God performed one of the most famous of miracles; the Red Sea opened up, allowing Israel to escape but closed up upon their pursuers. Hollywood has created numerous artistic depictions of this scene – and either way you cut it, it was an amazing marvel of grand proportions worthy of any blockbuster movie.
While mere words cannot capture the elation of this event, the beautiful “Song of the Sea” from Exodus 1:1-18, seeks to put into human words an ineffable gratitude and amazement upon being delivered from catastrophe by the hand of God.
We sing Mi Chamocha or “Who is Like You?” in our liturgy to commemorate this miraculous event, but Judaism also teaches us not to overlook everyday miracles, less dramatic but no less phenomenal. Midrash reminds us that “every day, miracles befall a person as great as the miracles of the exodus,” according to Tanna D’vei Eliyahu 2.
We don’t all see huge Exodus-type events in our lives today. Sadly, many people stop believing in miracles entirely, while yet being surrounded by the miracles of everyday life. The newborn baby, the butterfly’s wings, the rainbow after a storm – while being understood by science, they are all still “every day miracles.”
While contemplating the stories of Exodus, perhaps the real needs we have are eyes to see these everyday miracles around us and a heart that can respond with the inspiration, awe and gratitude of the “Song of the Sea:” “Who is like You, O Lord, among the mighty? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, revered in praises, doing wonders?”
Congregation B’nai Chaim offers services to Jewish and interfaith families as well as singles every Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and 9:30 a.m., respectively and is located at 29500 Via Princesa in Murrieta. For more information, visit www.bnaichaim.com.
Dr. Hefsiba Cohen is a co-principal of the Lamad Academy Religious School.