Beshalach - Obstacle Course

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Sometimes in life we come upon an obstacle in our route, a raging sea blocking us from our goals – from where we want to be. How do we cross it? How do we overcome this challenge, this obstacle?

When Klal Yisrael reached the raging sea before them they divided into four groups with different ideas of how to approach this challenge. Some might say the answer is only prayer and to do no action. Some might turn around and give themselves up to the darkness. Others may even, unfortunately, drown themselves to escape the challenge. But the answer lies in what option doesn’t occur to us because this challenge is our step to growth. The very thing that seems to be the impossible solution, the thing that just doesn’t make sense – the solution that is “beyond you” is what will help, for what is beyond is where you need to be. Hashem wants you to bridge that gap – to reach the other side. He wants you to go beyond, to do the impossible – so he gives us tests. If we pass, we are on the other side. If not, the test comes back to us. If one looks for what is most difficult for him to accomplish, that’s what he should focus on. We have to jump into the raging sea with faith, faith that God will split the waters for us and help us along. When we finally gather up the courage to do it, the waters split; new possibilities open up, new horizons spread forth and new vistas of growth appear because in each challenge we face we can find Hashem in a great way.

We know this from next week, Parshas Yisro:

“ויעמוד העם מרחוק,ומשה נגש אל הערפל,אשר שם האלקים –

The nation stood far away, while Moshe drew near to the thick clouds, where God was” (20:18)

We can walk our lives in physicality, but at a point we all have a little spark of inspiration, a spark that brings us to the path of HaShem – but at that moment, when we are about to reach new heights we encounter an obstacle. But within this challenge is Hashem, Who disguised Himself in this obstacle. A person who is wise will look into this obstacle and there he will find God. A person who doesn’t truly desire to grow, he will see this challenge and instantly turn around, returning to his old ways. This obstacle is compared to the thick clouds we mentioned in our Pasuk, and these thick clouds are darkness, an aspect of an obstacle. This is the explanation of the Pasuk, ויעמוד העם מרחוק: The nation saw the obstacle, they saw the dark clouds – but they stood from afar. They didn’t go after their goals and gave up when they saw the obstacle in front of them. But Moshe, who represents knowledge knew better than that. He was נגש הערפל: he drew near to the thick clouds, to the obstacle. And there אשר שם אלקים: there God was. For within the obstacle itself we find Hashem.

In life we are always faced with growth steps which come to us in the form of tests and obstacles. We can figure out what is holding us back and just do it – just have faith that the sea will split for us and that within our obstacles we find our greatest connection to Hashem. Or we can try and evade the test which will only confront us again in some other form. So why not dive in and let the raging seas split before you like Moshe, for within every challenge – within every darkness; שם אלקים – there is God.