Beshalach — Exodus 13:17-17:16, The Parashat Hashavua for Saturday, January 19, 2019

When we face hard times or see a problem in the world what do we do? Do we pray or do we act?

In this week’s Torah portion the Israelites have the sea in front of them and Pharaoh’s army pursuing them. They are thrown into a panic with no way to escape.

Then we read,  “But Moses said to the people, “Have no fear! Stand by, and witness the deliverance which the LORD will work for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again. The LORD will battle for you; you hold your peace!” (Exodus 14:13-14)

Moses reassures the Israelites that all they need is faith in God and all will be well. But Moses’ words are immediately followed by this response from God, “Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why do you cry out to Me? Tell the Israelites to go forward.” (Exodus 14:15)

When the first Israelite steps into the sea it parts, but not before. The message is clear. God cannot act in the world without us. God is the inspiration, but we are the actors.

If we want the world to be a better place, if we want to solve the problems of our world, then it is up to us to go forward. That is when miracles happen.