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Running into a Wall

Friday, 7 February, 2020 - 8:53 am


Do you ever feel like you are headed into a brick wall? Sometimes it’s a relationship that stubbornly refuses to improve. At other times it’s a project that doesn’t seem to be going the way you want it to go. Or, it’s the disaster that life in general seems to be presenting.

Confronting these circumstances, we often wonder what is the appropriate approach. What does the Torah suggest I do in these situations? Should I believe firmly that G-d knows what’s best for me and therefore just roll with the punches? Should I pray fervently for Divine intervention to intercede and alter the course of events?

Essentially, these seem like contradictory paths. And, if I believe in G-d, then I should not pray. He knows best.


This week’s parsha Beshalach may offer some insight.

When the Jewish people were faced with the dreadful reality that the sea was before them and the Egyptian army was behind them, they felt like they were running into a solid wall.

Instinctively, they prayed. They didn’t pray because they were uncertain. They knew G-d would deliver them. Otherwise, why talk to Someone you don’t believe in? Why petition the G-d that got you into trouble in the first place?

So, they prayed because that’s what Jews do. Even if we believe – when we are in trouble we reflexively turn to our Father in Heaven. To whom else should we bear our true, fragile emotions?

Nonetheless, they stood steadfast in their faith. It’s a remarkable testament of the Jewish condition. They knew in their hearts that all would be well. But, when it hurts, you shout out. So, they couldn’t help but to instinctively cry out to G-d.

Miraculously, the sea split. They marched through to freedom.

The sea did not just disappear. Rather, the sea became their shelter and escape route – standing as a tall wall between them and their oppressors. The raging sea that may have been previously perceived as the greatest hazard and perhaps even an enemy – was now their protector.


We may face challenges, but we are not facing a conflicting dilemma of prayer versus faith.

We believe fully in G-d’s providence leading us to the correct destination. Yet, as Jews, we instinctively share our pain and raw emotions with the Being that cares most about us.

With that attitude, the brick wall may actually become a welcome destination to run toward.


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