In the very beginning of this week’s Torah portion, Beshalach, God takes the Jewish people out of the land of Egypt in order to bring them to Eretz Israel. One way to get to Eretz Israel was to cross through the land of Philistines, and the longer route was go around the land of the Philistines, which is the route God ends up taking them on.
Why did God decide to take the Jewish nation the long way? God knew that when the Egyptians would inevitably give chase to recapture the Jews, the newly formed nation would be filled with so much fear and terror that without thought, they would return to the land of Egypt. So, God took Bnei Israel on a longer journey to save them from going back into the land of Egypt. This represents a lesson for us all in life. Sometimes to get to a certain destination, which could be unique goal you desire to reach (even a trip to Vegas), we find that it sometimes takes longer than expected to get to that destination. However, God has a reason for everything, and truth be told, sometimes the longer destination is the one that was meant to be.
When the Jews saw the Egyptians pursuing them, they suddenly feared they would be forced back into slavery. They were faced with a dilemma: if they turned back, the Egyptians would attack them, and if they moved forward, they had a high risk of drowning in the Sea of Reeds ahead. Putting all their trust in God, the Jewish people prayed, and He saved them. As the Jewish people continued to run, arrows began to fly towards them. To protect the Jews, God moved the heavenly cloud from protecting them in the front to protecting them in the back. This blocked all the arrows that were coming their way. And of course, shortly after, God does split the sea, which allowed the Jews to cross and the Egyptians to fall into the sea.
There are a couple reasons why this scene is so vital. Firstly, often times in life we do not knowing what to do. For example, let’s say you feel confused about what profession to pursue. The best thing to do when you’re in this sort of situation is to pray to God, as the Jewish people did when faced with adversity, and when you do that, the answer will come to you. There are also many “arrows” thrown at us in our own lives; however, what’s important to keep in mind is that God is there for us only if we seek him. Therefore, no matter what arrows come your way, reach out to God, and know that God is always protecting you.