Strong Winds!

Our Torah describes that the Jewish nation escaped the Egyptian army that was pursuing them by passing through the Red Sea on dry land after it split. This awesome event is forever etched into our imagination.

The Torah also describes that after the salvation of the Jews and the destruction of the Egyptians at the Red Sea, the Jews sang a beautiful and prophetic song of gratitude to G-d.

This event was so important that we recite the song of Az Yashir every day in our morning prayers and we also mention our salvation at the sea a number of times in our prayers.

At the Passover Seder we relate that the miracles at the splitting of the Red Sea surpassed the miracles of the Ten Plagues.

One cannot make up the story of the splitting of the Red Sea, which defied the laws of nature, and have very intelligent people believe it, if it never occurred.

Interestingly, the Torah tells us that before G-d split the Red Sea in the early morning hours on the seventh day after the exodus, “Moshe stretched out his hand over the sea, and G-d moved the sea with a strong east wind all night, and He split the waters.”

Ramban explains that G-d brought about the miracle through the wind rather than by an obvious miracle, to allow the Egyptians room for doubt. In their wickedness they insisted that the waters had been moved by the wind and not by G-d, even though, to an objective observer, it was clear that the sea was not parted by the wind. Their stubbornness led them to be plunged into the seabed and to their destruction.

Interestingly, the Written Torah of G-d has many inferences that could lead one who is not exposed to the Oral Torah’s teachings to make grave mistakes and interpret the Torah falsely.

Why did G-d present the Torah in a way that on the surface can be deceiving?

An approach to understanding this is that it is similar to why G-d had winds blow the entire night prior to splitting the sea.

When the Red Sea split, over two million Jews traveled through a dry thoroughfare with Moshe as their leader. Now, if the waters were in fact split through the wind, how would it be possible for the Jewish people; men, women, children, livestock and their many belongings to walk through the split waters? After all, there was a harrowing wind storm keeping both sides of the split waters erect.

Obviously, the winds were there only to present a doubt in the Egyptian’s minds, that maybe it was split by a force of nature.

Had the Egyptians taken a slight pause to assess the situation on hand, they would have certainly realized that it was, in fact, G-d’s miracle that caused the split, and they would not have pursued after the Jews.

The Egyptians were quite familiar with the ten plagues they experienced in Egypt – whose function was to prove through each plague that G-d was in charge.

Now, when the waters were miraculously splitting for the Jews, they should have learned from their experiences and not gone into the dangerous territory of the sea.

The Egyptians didn’t stop chasing, because their pursuit wasn’t based on logic; rather, it was based on anger and stubbornness and by the orders of the tyrannical Pharaoh, which skewed their common sense.

Similarly, G-d throughout the Written Torah presents us with a choice to either take the Torah literally – at face value – or to expand our range of knowledge and understanding by incorporating the Oral Tradition to clarify and guide us to what G-d actually means.

G-d wishes that each of His children take pause and objectively study His Torah to pursue the Emes – truth, beauty and holiness of it, and not fall prey to indiscriminately follow the alterations that those whose purpose is to reduce G-d’s involvement in the world and to eliminate the G-dly factor in the Torah.

G-d presented the Torah in such a way that we each have a choice and thus can be rewarded by Him for making the right choices!