5 facts about the day ahead of us

ציור: יואל וקסברגר, מלכות וקסברגר
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Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

1. On the first day of Pesach, we celebrated the Exodus from Egypt at the Seder. On the last day of Pesach, known as "Shevi'i Shel Pesach" (The Seventh Day of Pesach) that begins this evening, we will celebrate the splitting of the Red Sea.

2. Our commentators explain that until the splitting of the Red Sea, the nation was not yet completely free. The Exodus from Egypt was the beginning, but only after our forefathers crossed the sea - and cut themselves off forever from the Egyptians chasing after them - did they truly begin to be free.

3. In the midst of this new and joyful reality, the people did not speak, they sang. There are experiences so elevated that they can be fully expressed only through song. The Children of Israel articulated their faith and joy through singing Shirat HaYam (The Song of the Sea) that we are accustomed to read on this day.

4. Our sages tell us that not everyone was full of gratitude and joy. This is a familiar phenomenon, unfortunately. There were many shouts of despair and lost hope, and there was a group that wanted to go back to Egypt. Even while witnessing a miracle -- the splitting of the Red Sea -- there were those who continued to be bitter and cynical.

5. Many have written that it is worthwhile on this day to pray for "a splitting of the Red Sea" in every area of life. This is a holiday that reminds us that even when it appears that there is no way out -- when we are stifled and feeling suffocated -- we can take heart from having extricated ourselves from much worse situations in the past. Reality can suddenly surprise us, and everything can change in the twinkling of an eye. Just think, for example, what Pesach was like a year ago.

Shabbat shalom and chag sameach.

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