When the cup of suffering had run over, Egypt's grip was loosened. On that day, Israel went forth to freedom. They made their way to the Red Sea. Cloud by day, fire by night: God's Presence went before them. Pharoah's heart changed yet again, and he dispatched his troops to recapture the fleeing slaves, for the oppressors' fury grows as their grip beigins to weaken, and in their rage, they pursue their victims even to their own destruction. Israel stood uncertain: Before them the sea, behind them Egypt's hosts.
At that time, when Israel stood at the edge of the sea, each one said, "I will not be the first to enter the waters." While they stood there, Nachshon ben Amminadav leaped into the sea. Only then did the others follow.
At that time, then plunged into the waters, going further and further, until it seemed the waters must cover their heads! Only when they had gone as far as they could through their own efforts did the seas part for them.
The people overcame their fear, as all must in every generatiom who would be free. For the human fate has been exile and oppression, and the human task, to find hope, to overcome.
O God, teach us to ejoice in freedom, but not in its cost for us and for our enemies. Let there come a day when violence is no more, and we shall be free to rejoie without sadness, to sing without tears.
That day is not yet. Since the Exodus we have known many oppressions and deliverances. Often we have suffered, often triumphed -- and always, as a people, survived. For the Redeemer of Israel has been our never-failing stregnth.
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