The Miracle of Nature

You may have noticed that there is a slight variation in the Torah’s description of the crossing of the Sea of Reeds. Exodus 14:22 says that the Israelites went “b’toch hayaym bayabasha” – within the sea on dry ground. But a few verses later, we are told they went “bayabasha b’toch hayam” – on dry ground in the midst of the sea (Exodus 14:29).

Some commentaries suggest that these versions refer to different levels of faith. People like Nachshon ben Aminadav went right into the sea. After this demonstration of faith, the waters divided and they were able to walk on dry ground. Others waited on the shore for the waters to first part, and then they were able to walk “on dry ground in the midst of the sea”.

Rav Elimelech of Lizhensk explains that the incredible miracle of walking within the sea but on dry ground infused us with a profound recognition of God’s control over nature. Some were able to absorb the impact of this miracle to point where they realized that everything, even nature is really miraculous. (After all, the splitting of the sea is no less amazing than the creation of the sea itself). This level of faith is reflected in the second verse where even when we normally walk on dry ground – it feels just as miraculous as if walking through the midst of the sea.

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