A Peek Under the Hood

Friday, 26 January, 2024 - 12:21 pm

We had some trouble with our furnace this week. It’s not pleasant when you need to figure out why your heat isn’t working in middle of the winter.

We are fortunate to have a friend who is an HVAC expert and he came out to have a look and troubleshoot the issue. He checked out all types of gadgets and parts inside the furnace and made some tweaks. Hopefully, all is well now.

It reminded me about this week’s parsha Beshalach. We read about the famous story of the Splitting of the Sea. After the Jews departed the horrible prison of Egypt, they found themselves stuck between the sea and Pharaohs advancing army. G-d gave them instructions, “Move forward.” Indeed, they marched forward and, miraculously, the sea split.

A fundamental tenet of Judaism is that G-d is omnipotent. G-d could have saved the Jews and taught Egypt a lesson in a myriad of ways. Why split the sea and not simply cause infighting amongst Egypt’s ranks, or some other miracle?

Chassidic teachings emphasize that the sea is a subterranean universe. It’s concealed from the human eye, but beneath the surface lies a diverse and mesmerizing world of flora and fauna. When the Jews traversed the sea on dry land, they were not only escaping from Egypt. They were immersing themselves in the mysteries of the deep seas.  That which is hidden became revealed to them.

Mystically, this means that Hashem revealed the secrets of the world and of His being to them. It was the penultimate revelation.

And, here is the important lesson for all of us.

As we seek to wrest ourselves free from the shackles of our lives – be it emotional trauma, health challenges, time management, familiar relationships, or financial struggle, we ought to look under the hood. Instead of simply facing the challenge itself, let’s ask ourselves what is the meaning of these issues in light of our Divine mission. How does this change the trajectory of the purpose of my existence? What spiritual meaning lies hidden in this challenge? How can it turn me into a better person? What is the health of my spiritual DNA? How can I be more sensitive to the secret trials others are facing?

By tinkering with the spirit inside, we can reveal an entire world of potential. This was the message G-d was giving the newly freed nation. And, it’s as relevant as ever today.

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