Beshalach: Transcending Anxiety
The world has become gripped by another crisis. The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak could be on the verge of becoming a pandemic. The impact is already huge. It could get worse. Again, we are all feeling anxious. At his recent address in Davos, Yuval Harari warned of three existential threats facing humanity: nuclear war, ecological collapse and technological disruption. Whatever the future holds, one thing is certain. We should expect a turbulent ride. As Jews we have certainly had our fair share of turbulence. Consequently, we have learned not only to adapt, but to capitalize on the challenges by which we are confronted. One of the most dramatic moments in our history took place soon after the miraculous exodus from Egypt. After a six day journey in the desert towards the promised land, the Jewish people found themselves trapped between a revitalized Egyptian army and the Red Sea. Naturally, pandemonium￼ gripped this fledgling nation, resulting in the splintering of a range of factions, all pulling in different directions. Even Moses was at a loss. At this moment, G-d intervenes. He instructs Moses with a clear and simple directive. “Tell the Jewish People to forge ahead”. There are times in our lives when we are faced with huge challenges. We become engulfed with the problem. There doesn’t seem to be any way we can overcome it. We begin to lose clarity. We’re not sure of our trajectory or on which path we should embark. We are no longer confident in our ability to make good judgment. There is only one solution: We must “forge ahead”. But in order to do so we must have a clear sight of our end goal. A purpose which is greater than ourselves. Life will always throw a curveball our way, particularly when we are least expecting it. Perhaps we are living in an era when there will be an increasing amount of curveballs. We therefore have no choice but to remain vigilant and focused on the ultimate purpose for which we are created. “Tell the Jewish People to forge ahead”. One step at a time, towards the Promised Land. And if we remain focused on our ultimate purpose, we can witness the splitting of the sea.