From Sea to See – Parashat Beshalach

January 13, 2019 at 2:29 AM , , ,

“….But the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea…” – Shemot 14:29

וּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הָלְכוּ בַיַּבָּשָׁה בְּתוֹךְ הַיָּם – שמות יד, כט

Our Sages taught, “Everything that exists on land also exists in the sea” (Talmud, Chulin 127a). The difference between them is only the extent to which their inhabitants are visible to the human eye; unlike their counterparts on the dry land, the creatures of the sea are out of sight.

Accordingly, Chassidus interprets Kri’at Yam Suf, in which the sea was transformed to dry land, as a spiritual experience as well, in which spiritual realities that are normally hidden became clear and visible like the creatures of the dry land (Torah Ohr 62b and elsewhere). Additionally, Kri’at Yam Suf is not only an event of the past but something we must strive for in our personal service of G-d today as well.

One application of the spiritual Kri’at Yam Suf is to bridge the gap between the spiritual heights we experience during prayer and the rest of the activities of our day. The focus of prayer is to arouse in our hearts and minds conscious feelings of attachment to G-d and subordination to Him. Though praying daily automatically impacts our conduct throughout the day, but the intensity of our feelings during prayer tends to fade and be “hidden” from our conscious thoughts when we are preoccupied by the mundane demands that each day brings. Nevertheless, Kriat Yam Suf teaches us and gives us the strength to expose the part of our lives that is naturally “hidden”, like the creatures of the sea, and make it conscious and “visible”, like the creatures that inhabit the dry land. This means that even while going about our ordinary activities, we must strive to maintain a constant and conscious submission before G-d like that which we experience during prayer.

—Likkutei Sichos vol. 3, p. 1016e

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