After Pharaoh finally agreed to let the children of Israel go, they quickly gathered their things and fled from Egypt. Soon after, Pharaoh’s military charged after them. The Israelites were now in a position to devote their safety and future to the partnership they had with G-d. They now needed to trust and have faith in a concept they couldn’t see.
G-d went before the Israelites in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night, so they could travel at all times. G-d guided them with boundaries and the tools to stay motivated. G-d created a dichotomy between the creation he set and what he provided the children of Israel in their need for guidance. In the creation story, G-d created light first to separate light from darkness. Yet, the clouds create a slight dim in the sky, almost like a boundary to shield the children of Israel from the dangers that G-d does not want them to see. The fire created a shift in focus or point of view. G-d blocked the sun, which provided a visual against daylight and produced fire. This also provided a visual against the night sky as a form of protection. The message G-d was teaching was to shine a light on the good in their lives in the midst of their darkness. The children of Israel followed G-d's commands as they embarked on their journey and never questioned their trust in Him.
In our ever-changing world, no matter what, the sun will rise and set. We can count on that. We may not get the biggest scoop of ice cream, get to be with the people we love, or always be included, but the sun will rise and set. In this Parsha, G-d contradicted the foundations of the work he developed on the first day of creation. He intentionally disturbed a grounding ritual in order to adapt to new safety protocols and free his chosen people.
The boundaries such as social distancing from our fellow Alephs and BBG’s and proper mask wearing are protocols BBYO put in place for our protection and safety. Though it may be difficult to adapt to a BBYO experience that is not like the ones we have experienced in the past, we must learn to have faith in the working science we can't see. Our COVID rules and regulations are often changing and contradicting themselves as our world shifts from one variant to the next, but just as the Israelites trusted in G-d, we must trust that following these protocols will allow us to have our conventions, summer programs, and overcome this virus. We must use the fire to shine light on the positive aspects and find our inner strength to push through. At the end of the day, the epitome of BBYO is being with each other and keeping traditions alive.
During these hard times, when others can't find the positives, it is our responsibility to help them, to love others as we love ourselves. We must work together, listen, and trust that eventually all will be well. Though it will take some time to get to the promised land, I promise we will make it.
Mandy Baeck, BBYO Pacific Western Region
Read commentary on this week's Parsha from BBYO teens around the world.
All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.
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