Shlomo Ezagui

The successful way to face todays challenges.

Jenny Wesly

In addition to the commandment to remember the Exodus from Egypt every day, there is another commandment: to remember the splitting of the Reed Sea every day.

The fact that everyone is commanded to remember these two historical events tells us that the lessons gleaned from these episodes must be eternal and relevant to all people across time.

We must remember the Exodus every day because, as we grow and progress, new challenges attempt to prevent us from being who we can and should be every single day. Every day demands us to free ourselves from yesterday’s limitations to something even greater today.

When the Egyptians pursued the Israelites after the Exodus, as they stood before the Reed Sea, there were four camps, each with its own opinion of what to do next. One group said, “We must jump in the water and commit suicide.” Another group said, “We should return to Egypt and surrender once again as slaves.” The third group said, “We should fight the Egyptians,” and the final group said, “We should pray to God.”

Moses told them, You are ALL wrong, and “You (all) must march forward.”

Nachshon, the son of Aminadav from the tribe of Judah, did precisely that. He proved himself to be a courageous leader and advanced into the water. Only when the water reached his nostrils, and God saw his self-sacrifice and commitment to sticking to the course did the water split, allowing all the Israelites to pass through on dry land.

What lesson can we derive from this story, in our most turbulent times?

Many times in life, we may feel cornered. The flood waters of confusion and difficulties are before us, and the Egyptians (of all sorts) are pursuing us from behind. We think we are between a rock and a hard place. At that time, there may be four different ways people may react to these circumstances.

Some may want to jump into the water and bury their heads in the sand for as long as they can protect themselves from dealing with reality. Distract yourself from dealing with the real issues.

Others may feel like the only way is to use all the old, accustomed ideas that never freed you from the problem, but as in Stockholm syndrome, it feels familiar.

Another approach is to conclude that perhaps the best thing is to stand up for our rights and keep explaining and defending our position and rights before the enemy.

A spiritual solution may be to pray to God and leave it in his hands. After all, everything God does is for the good, so why not just sit back and wait for everything to work itself out?

Moses, who received the word from God, tells us that, as a rule, all four approaches are incorrect.

Good things happen with effort on our part. Doing something “only” because it makes sense to us, without guidance from God’s word, exposes a person to the limitations of human logic. Doing things and feeling forced to do them will never bring the best out of a person. Only when we find enjoyment in what we do because we are confident in the path do we flourish, and simply praying to God and not making an effort is not what God wants of us. We are told to make an effort through natural means in all that we pray for.

The correct thing to do—the way that will bring about the best for ourselves and the world—is to proceed confidently forward, focused on the prescribed goal in complete knowledge, faith, and trust that we are moving ahead in compliance with God’s directives and, therefore, that we are not alone and that He is with us all along for the ride.

God is indeed with us, and we are granted the strength to forge onward regardless of the difficulties that appear before us. This commitment to keep moving even up to our nostrils will eventually part the sea for us, as the Bible tells us, “That day the LORD saved Israel from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the shore.”

May we all soon merit the return of the hostages and the end of all evil in the world.

Chapter 50

About the Author
Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui is an author and lecturer. "A Spiritual Soul Book" ( & "Maimonides Advice for the 21st Century" ( In 1987, Rabbi Ezagui opened the first Chabad Center in Palm Beach County, Florida, and the first Orthodox Synagogue on the island of Palm Beach, Florida.
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