Parsha Beshalah

When Things Go Wrong


The Children of Israel come out of Egypt. It is like a rebirth. But almost immediately they are faced with one crisis after another. The Egyptian army pursues them. There is no water, no food. They complain against Moses, Aaron and God. The Amalekites attack them. Yet they come through all these difficulties. There is one word that is repeated at each of these stages, the word NISa. It means a test, in the way that Avraham was ‘tested’ when he was asked to kill his own son. The same letters in Hebrew that mean ‘Test,’ NUN SAMECH, also stand for NES, a miracle, something amazing.

We are tested from the moment we are born. Things do not always go the way we want or expect them to. But this is part of life, the process that either makes s or breaks us. It is not a matter of whether God tests us but that life itself tests us. If all we do is complain about it the problems we face, we will never overcome difficulties and progress. But if we do, then we are stronger for having survived the tests. So it was with Avraham, so it was with the Children of Israel and so it is today with us whether in Israel or the diaspora. But we come through. We are survivors.

We are constantly tested. That is the miracle of life, that we are challenged. And each time we survive it is a small miracle. Life is made up of lots of little miracles if we can only recognize them. When we are in pain we only see the dark side. But when we survive through to the other side, then we see light, whether it is physical or spiritual light. And that is worth singing about!