Roy Neuberger - Jan. 18, 2019

The power of this week’s Torah Portion challenges description. It is not simply what happened to our ancestors, but it reflects our situation today.


The sea was in front and Egypt was behind. The Children of Israel were in a state of panic. “Egypt pursued them, encamped by the sea – all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen and army …. Pharaoh approached. The Children of Israel raised their eyes, and behold! Egypt was journeying after them and they were very frightened. The children of Israel … said to Moses, ‘Were there no graves in Egypt?’” (Exodus 14:9ff)


They wanted to go back to Egypt!


My friends, if this does not describe our situation today, I do not know what does.


We are totally surrounded. There is no place to go.


Our enemies, inside and outside Israel, are every day strengthening themselves. “Like rivers [our enemies have] raised their voice. Like rivers they shall raise their destructiveness ….” (Psalm 93 with Artscroll Siddur commentary)


Every day we are losing more of our mighty towers of strength, our great rabbis.


Governments in countries that were once considered our friends are turning against us. They are trying to close down the yeshivos through which we pass on Torah to our future generations – in England, in Canada, in the United States! This is equivalent to trying to throw our babies into the Nile River, G-d forbid! They are trying to drown our children in the river of impurity!


Every day violence increases. War on a vast scale seems increasingly likely. I saw in a headline that Russia has developed a missile which is “impossible” to stop, a missile which flies so fast that it could cross the United States in a few minutes.


Moral standards which only a few years ago were accepted as normal, have completely crumbled and the world seems to be ruled by insane and violent people.


Indeed, we are today standing at the Red Sea. There is no safety! There is no peace! There is no security! There is no place to go!


This is the time to listen to the words of Moses!


“Do not fear! Stand fast and see the salvation of Hashem that He will perform for you today …. Hashem shall make war for you, and you shall remain silent!” (Exodus 14:13-14)


My friends, this is an amazing time in history. The Torah is guiding us toward the climax of history. Hashem is preparing us for Complete Redemption. This is the moment to hold on tightly to Hashem and His Torah and to unite among ourselves with love, to drop all animosity like a hot coal. The fate of the Children of Israel hinges on our love for each other. We are standing together on the shores of the Red Sea. The water is about to split, and soon we will cross. Our enemies will disappear. Yes, it will happen!


“And may those who devoured you be cast far off! Your G-d will rejoice over you like a groom rejoicing over his bride.” (Lecha Dodi)


Hashem will once again give us the Torah, this time to keep forever!


“Do not fear! Stand fast and see the salvation of Hashem!”


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