February 3, 2023 - 12th of Sh'vat 5783 - Parashat Beshalach 5783 / פָּרָשַׁת בְּשַׁלַּח
Dear Beit Rabban Community,
Some years back on a Thursday before Parashat Beshalach, our community gathered for a student named Bailee’s bat mitzvah. She read the Torah portion precisely and elegantly and after services, she spoke about the splitting of the Red Sea and reflected on the well-known Midrash about Nachshon Ben Aminadav. Nachshon, we are taught, was the first person to jump into the sea, and his bravery and faith inspired all the Israelites to follow. I have heard countless people reflect on this Midrash, but I had never before considered the question Bailee posed: how does a person cultivate the type of courage they need to take a Nachshon-like step when the opportunity arises? She spoke about her own process of building courage and about the times that she had to tap all her courage to take a risk. As I listened to her speak, I thought about the heavy and holy responsibilities we have as educators and parents to help our children cultivate the courage it takes to face daunting opportunities and intimidating challenges. I thought about the fact that like all the most important lessons we have to teach, this one starts with our own modeling.
As we read the story of the Exodus tomorrow, may it inspire us as Nachshon inspired an entire people to make courageous decisions and teach our children to do the same.
Wishing all a relaxing and rejuvenating Shabbat,