February 23 - 29
Morning Services (Shahrit)
Followed by Breakfast & Class
Monday: 8:30 AM
Tuesday - Friday: 7:15 AM
Saturday: 9:00 AM
Sunday: 8:30 AM
Afternoon & Evening Services (Minha/Arbit)
Sunday - Thursday: 5:15 PM
Friday Candle Lighting: 5:26 PM
Minha, Shir HaShirim, Kabbalat Shabbat, Arbit: 5:20 PM
Saturday Class with
Rabbi Mamane: 4:10 PM
Saturday Minha: 5:10 PM
Habdalah: 6:23 PM
Very often, Midrash tells us stories that pertain to the characters of the Torah, that never appear in the text of the Torah, but are set between scenes of the Torah's story, or are set as preludes to the Torah's stories. Most of these Midrashim never enter mainstream Torah conversation, and some of them are so imaginative that, even among "Midrashic Literalists" (A group of Jews who tend to read Midrash literally,) accept that they are not literal, historical accounts. When it comes to Midrashic stories, I tend to advise people to consider, not whether or how the stories took place, but, what lessons are we meant to deduce from the stories.
Parashat Beshalah presents us with one of the most famous, iconic Midrashic stories: that of Nahshon Ben Aminadab. Nahshon was the tribal leader of Judah, and also the Brother in law of Aharon. At the splitting of the sea, God instructed the people to stop praying and start walking, but there was no indication in the text that the sea had already split and was walkable territory. Midrash tells us therefore that the people of Israel stood in their place, not knowing whether they should indeed walk into the water. Nahshon, however, heard the command of God, and in a steadfast matter, began walking into the water. It was a test of faith, but only that that point did God indeed split the waters, which ultimately sealed the salvation of the Israelite people.
This Midrash is celebrated in Jewish culture, and taught in Yeshiva day schools whenever the story of the sea is taught, and for good reason. It celebrates faith, and validates the experiences people who find themselves in times of uncertainty and fear, in need to make a decision, not knowing how successful the outcome will be. It empowers them to take a leap of faith, hopeful that the God who saved Nahshon and the people from the water, will also watch over them. It is a truly empowering story.
It is no surprise, therefore, that this Midrash, of all others, has become arguably the most recognized Midrash of the Exodus story.
Rabbi Mimon Mamane