Don’t Miss Your Chance

Yael Eckstein  |  January 29, 2024

Psalm 78:19-20
Crossing the Red Sea. © Burmistrov

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.” — Exodus 14:15-16

Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Beshalach, which means “when he sent them away,” from Exodus 13:17–17:16.

I love how in Israel everything seems to come back to the Bible—even the most mundane things. One time, after my family enjoyed a day rafting down the Jordan River, my children decided to ride the zip line at the end of our route. The zip line began high up on shore and ended in the river. When my daughter’s turn arrived, she got cold feet about the ride. The person operating the zip line tried to encourage her and said, “Come on, be a Nahshoni!” It took her a moment to understand what he meant, but then she smiled, took the leap, and enjoyed the ride. 

The term Nahshoni comes from this week’s Torah portion and refers to Nahshon, the son of Amminadab, from the tribe of Judah. According to Jewish tradition, when the Israelites stood at the Red Sea and realized that the Egyptian army was quickly closing in on them, they panicked. While Moses prayed, and everyone else tried to figure out what to do, Nahshon walked straight into the sea with complete faith that God would take care of him.

Don’t Miss Your Chance

Tradition teaches that when the water reached Nahshon’s nose, God told Moses to stop praying, to stretch out his staff, and to split the sea. And that is exactly what happened. Our Jewish tradition teaches that the sea didn’t part and then the Israelites walked through it; rather, one Israelite stepped out in faith and walked into the sea, and therefore, it parted.

What an incredible lesson about faith! Sometimes we sit and deliberate and pray about an action we might take. We may even know in our heart that it is the right thing to do but we hesitate. Should I do it, or not?  Will I be successful? Will the money be there to support me? Is the timing right? It’s like we are waiting around for the seas to part so that we can easily walk through.

However, Nahshon teaches us that if we wait for the conditions to be just right, we might miss our chance or wait forever. Instead, We need to step out in faith, even into stormy waters, trusting God to help us. When we follow God in faith, He will faithfully lead us.

Your Turn:

What have you been called to do? Be a Nahshoni, set your excuses and worries aside, and step out in faith!