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One of the things I enjoy greatly at Stephen S. Wise Temple Elementary School is sitting in our weekly Shabbat service and listening to the children talk about their learning of the weekly Parsha. The students are able to tell the name of the Parsha and what book of the Torah it comes from. But on a much deeper level, they are also able to talk about what happened in the weekly portion, where this story is in the larger narrative, and how it relates to them personally. Their insights are always interesting, and I invite you to join me at a service to see this first hand.
Tomorrow we will learn about this week’s parsha “B’Shallah” and have a discussion on the Israelite’s continuing exodus from Egypt. We will read a highlight story in our history of the parting of the Red Sea. There will be lots of conversation on the scientific explanation for this, as well as the idea of miracles in our lives. In this spirit, I want to share my thoughts on this week’s reading.
There is a midrash, or story, that the sea would not part until the Israelites showed enough faith to march into the waters. They were waiting for God to perform a great miracle first. It took one man, Nahshon, to be bold enough to step into the sea, and at that point the sea responded to his act of faith. Today I talked to parents about their taking an act of faith by dropping off their children to our school and trusting that we would do the important work of educating them. I don’t promise to do miracles, but I do promise each of you that we will reward your trust and faith by producing students at the end of their journey who are well-educated and well-rounded young adults. I am honored to lead this “exodus journey” and look forward to sharing with you the daily miracles we experience together.