Beit Midrash

  • Torah Portion and Tanach
  • Beshalach
To dedicate this lesson

The Splitting of the Sea and the Horse that was Split in Two


Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Rimon

Once there was an amazing artist. He drew paintings that seemed most real – as if they were alive. Once, the artist decided to test people’s reaction to one of his paintings. He labored and drew a horse that looked exactly like a real horse. The picture was the size of a real horse. The painter stood the painting on a hill near the city square and watched from the city square for a few hours. He saw people pass but no one paid attention to the painting. The painter went and asked someone for his opinion of the horse. The man said: ‘This horse hides the view of the hill. Why doesn’t he move away?’ From the man’s answer, the painter understood that the man thought the horse was real!

The painter immediately knew what he had to do. He went to the horse and cut the painting into two parts. He placed them side by side, with some distance between them. Suddenly, people stopped. They stopped and looked at the wonder – a horse split in two!

Rabbi Shlomo Kluger related this parable (I heard a slightly different version from Rav Yonatan Billet in the name of Rav Shalom Shwadron z’l) in order to explain the significance of the Splitting of the Sea for us. What is more wondrous – a complete sea, flowing from side to side, or a split and broken sea? Obviously a complete sea, flowing normally. The way nature’s systems work is much more impressive! However, we were accustomed to seeing a whole sea, and we no longer acknowledge the wonder of creation. Only when the sea split, did everyone look at G-d’s wonders – "They had faith in G-d and in Moses, His servant."

We need to observe the whole creation, to view with wonder everything around us, and to understand that all of this is emanates from G-d. "There is no artist like G-d" (Brachot 10a) – from everything in existence we can reveal the wonders of G-d’s creation – if we would only wake up and observe. The split sea will teach us to be amazed by the entire sea and by nature which is constantly being revealed to us.

In many poems, my poet grandfather Rabbi Yosef Zvi Rimon z’l, emphasized this idea. I will quote a few lines from one of them (Collection of Poems, P. 86):

I knew, that the solution to everything – is G-d’s Light!

G-d’s Light – He made all like an artist:

The morning sun shone with it,

And the night moon hid its magic,

The afternoon, too, is glory

And my day today doesn’t compare – to yesterday!

My every moment – G-d,

And all my ways – G-d!
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