“Passover days 7 and 8.”: Running Toward
וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהֹוָה֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה מַה־תִּצְעַ֖ק אֵלָ֑י דַּבֵּ֥ר אֶל־בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל וְיִסָּֽעוּ׃
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry out to Me? Tell the Israelites to go forward!
The Beginning of Passover marks the moment we left Egypt, the moment we left our lives as slaves behind. For six days we ran away, getting as far away as we could from Egypt and all it represented. Then there came a moment when we could run no farther. Having reached the edge of the sea of reeds, panic ensued for fear that the Egyptians were going to drag us back into slavery. It was tonight, the seventh day after being taken out of Egypt, that the sea split and the Israelites walked through on dry land, finally leaving Egypt behind.
The seventh day of Passover marks the miracle of crossing sea of reeds, a transition that began a different kind of running. Our ancestors entered the sea running away from their oppressors, but when they saw the Egyptians, those that oppressed them for generations perish in the sea, they no longer had to run away. Rather this was the day that they began running toward their destiny, to mount Sinai to receive the Torah, and ultimately (though it would be realized only in the next generation) to the land of Israel.
This holiday, the seventh day of Passover, marks a running toward, rather than a running away. It is a day where we are invited to reflect on what we need to run away from, our own Egypt, the spiritual or physical oppression that we face. But one cannot run away forever. To live free means to have the freedom to run forward – to strive for a goal, to run toward ones future rather than away from ones past. May the blessing of this day enable us to leave our Egypt behind, to finally stop running away and start the trek , even if it’s in a desert, toward the future.