We have to realize that nothing in life is a coincidence. There are many invisible miracles that God does all the time!
By Rabbi Ari Enkin, Rabbinic Director, United with Israel
This week’s Torah portion is “Beshalach” (Exodus 13:17-17:16) and in it we have the making of a movie. Literally! At this point, the plagues have concluded and the Exodus is on. Let’s talk about the splitting of the Red Sea and the drowning of the Egyptians.
The return of the waters and the drowning of the Egyptians does not seem to be the only miracle that God did for the sake of the Jewish people during the crossing of the Red Sea. There is another miracle that takes place before the waters come crashing down on the Egyptians.
Take a look at this verse: “And He removed the wheels of their chariots and made their drive difficult. And then the Egyptians said: Let us flee from the Hebrews for their God is fighting for them against the Egyptians [us].” (Ex. 14:25)
What’s going on over here? Why is God removing the wheels of the chariots? God does not do miracles needlessly. And the fact that even the Egyptian soldiers recognized that this was an act of God speaks volumes! If God wanted to slow the Egyptians down why did He need to remove the wheels of the chariots? Think about it: If the Jews entered the sea first and the Egyptians followed behind them, the water could have simply been returned to its place immediately after the last Jew exited the sea before any of the Egyptians had a chance to get out. So what was the necessity of removing the wheels of the chariots?
The answer is pretty cool and likely lesser known to readers.
Get this: According to some commentators, the Jewish people did not cross through the Red Sea from one side to the other! Rather, they exited the sea on the same side they had entered! That’s right! According to this approach the Red Sea journey was like an arch or rainbow that brought them out on the same side of the Red Sea they entered. Furthermore, we are told that each tribe has given their own path, making for a 12 branched rainbow!
Keeping in mind that the outer branches of a rainbow are longer than the inner ones (with the outermost one being many times longer than the innermost one), and some of the Egyptian pursuers were following the Jews on all their paths including the shorter one, God had to do something to “slow them down!” That’s why he had to remove the wheels of the chariots! It was in order to ensure that even the Egyptians who pursued them along the shortest path would not exit the sea before the tribes going along the longer routes had enough time to exit. I’d wager that most readers never picked up on the miracle of the wheels coming off the chariots. And it may very well be that the Jewish people had no idea that this miracle was performed either!
We see from here that God does miracles for us without us even realizing it! We’re so used to blood in the Nile, firstborns dying, the sea crashing – the “action packed” miracles. Sure, those are important and noteworthy, but sometimes even more noteworthy are the small miracles, the “coincidences”, and conveniences we take for granted.
We have to realize that nothing in life is a coincidence. From finding the right parking spot, to coming across a sale on items we need, to a job that provides for a family, let us recall that there are many invisible miracles that He does all the time!
For more insights by Rabbi Enkin on this week’s Torah portion, click on the links below.
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