When in your life has the sea split (metaphorically) allowing you to walk freely into your life? This is the question I posed to our community (at Congregation Or Ami and our Facebook friends), as I prepared for Shabbat Shira (the Sabbath of Song) which remembers the splitting of the Red Sea. So many responses came through and I invited three people to share their insights. Seth Front shares his reflections below on “You Cannot Go Back”.
The whole process became a blogpost (Facebook Post becomes Serious Sermon). The services was recorded; Seth speaks at 27:28).
You Cannot Go Back, by Seth Front
What I find interesting is not that the Red Sea parts and the Israelites walk through to a new life, but rather than the Red Sea closes behind them so that it is impossible to return to their old life in Egypt.
This is a perfect visual representation of what happens when we make important life decisions. Whether it is an active decision or a more passive “ah ha” moment of clarity, it is as if the sea parts for us so we can move forward to a life of fuller authenticity. These moments of actualization sometimes occur from great stress but just as often occur at a moment’s notice, as if an act of God.
Although these moments are life changing, it’s important to remember the other part of the allegory: the closing of the Red Sea, the closing off of our past life.
Sometimes a decision, an event or a realization is so life-altering that it is impossible to return to the way we once were, just like the Israelites couldn’t return to their lives of slavery in the “fleshpots of Egypt.” Who we are has changed, and as our perception of ourselves and the world changes, so too do our relationships. Having passed through the Red Sea, there’s no way we can go back to “business as usual.”
Some relationships will fall by the wayside while others will be changed both by how we perceive ourselves and also by how others will change in response to us. Either way, there’s no going back to the way we once were because that past no longer exists. It has been replaced by a new reality, a new perception of ourselves, and a new world.
And so, energized by the changes, and nervous about them too, we walk forward freely, saying:
Mi Chamocha ba’eilim Adonai… – Who is like you O God.Norah tehilot, oseh felehAwesome and praiseworthy, doing wonders.