The Mud And the Blood And The Beer


Jerusalem, Israel
HaRav Yehuda Kroizer SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva

15 Shvat 5767/2-3 February 2007


Almost 70 percent of adults in the U.S. are expected to watch this Sunday the “Superbowl”; that’s more than 2 out of every 3 adults, and world-wide, over 200 million viewers will tune in for the big game. Over 14,000 tons of potato chips are expected to be eaten and endless bottles of beer will be drunk. True, many will be watching for the commercials, but most will want to see who will take home the trophy. Still, this impressive figure pales in comparison to the splitting of the Reed Sea.

For at the moment of the splitting of the Reed Sea, all the waters of the world also split. From rivers to lakes to wells of all countries throughout the world, even water in people’s jars and mugs split, thus publicizing the miracle. Every single person in the world at the time knew about the miracle that was taking place. The waters in the world returned to their natural state only after the water of the Reed Sea resumed its normal course. In this way G-d’s great Name was sanctified throughout the entire world.

But it was at that grand moment, when the Jewish people were crossing the sea, that some of the Jews began to complain to one another saying: Look at this, in Egypt we were stuck in the mud all day making bricks, and here, too, we are stuck in the mud that is in the seabed. We had mud then, and we have mud now! Hashem considered these words a rebellion against Him, as it’s stated: “They rebelled against Me at Yam Suf. I shall nevertheless save them in order that My Name be sanctified” (Psalms 104). Hashem, then, in His mercy dried the mud and made the ground become firm.

How unfortunate it was that in the midst of this great miracle, there were Jews who could not see past their own noses, could not see the whole picture and were bogged down in merely contemplating their sorry state of muddy feet.

Ours is the generation of the Redemption. After wandering from place to place as unwanted guests of the nations of the world, Hashem in His mercy brought us home. Still, many of us still want to see the mud on our feet, instead of seeing that we are walking through the sea. The “Chafetz Chaim”, commenting on the Redemption process, wondered how it was possible that two people could be at the same place and look at the same scene, but come to two totally different conclusions. One will see a tree, a house, a road but nothing that connects them, while the other fellow, looking at the same picture, will see how the towns and villages are being rebuilt and resettled and how all are returning home.

Today we still have too many people looking at the mud on their feet and complaining "Oy, how muddy are my feet", and who don't see the historic times that we are living in, and how Hashem is taking us through the sea at this very moment. In this process of Redemption, there is mud and blood but we must not focus on our dirty feet – instead, we must rise above and see the whole picture before our eyes.

The Talmud teaches us that the generation that left Egypt were people of little faith: "The Jews cried out, that just as we came out of the Sea the Egyptians will surely come out at a different spot and will chase us." For this reason, Hashem, in His great mercy, had the sea spit out the Egyptians' corpses so that the Jews could see them and know that they were all killed. Were it not for Hashem’s own Namesake, which He has tied to the Jewish people, all of us would have been lost.

In our day there is mud in this process that we are in, and at times a lot of it, but only a fool would be looking down at the mud and worrying about it being on his very expensive shoes. Instead, at the same time we should be looking up at the light, which is growing brighter every day at the end of the tunnel.

With love of Israel,
Levi Chazen

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