My spiritual life has come to a standstill. Every time I try to take a step forward, I hit a hurdle. I have committed to observing Shabbat, and now I’m having trouble at work. I’ve started keeping kosher, but my family is seriously resisting. It seems my path is always blocked. Will it ever get easier?
You need a Red Sea moment. You are like the Israelites being chased by the Egyptians in the rear, blocked by the sea ahead. Their past haunts them; their future eludes them. You know what happened next. Well, it can happen to you too.
In what seems to be a strange addition to the story of the splitting of the sea, the sages state that not only did the water of the Red Sea split, but at the same moment every body of water in the entire world split. This would include the Yangtze River in China, Copacabana Beach, a cup of coffee in Swaziland, and a swimming pool in Malibu. Every single body of water in the entire world split into two.1
What would be the point of that? The clearly Israelites needed the Red Sea to split because it was blocking their way to Mount Sinai. But why would all the water in the rest of the world also need to split?
The miracle that happened at the Red Sea was not just a one-off. Not only did the sea split, but along with it, every blockage to every spiritual path for every person in every place for all times split wide open.2
Anyone who sets out on a true spiritual journey should know that sooner or later they will come to an impasse. The world will not give you free passage to reach your soul’s destination. Obstacles will be thrown at you, roadblocks will be put in your way. You are being tested. If your desire for truth is real, then you will persist. Walk into the water. Don’t flee. Face the roadblock head on.
It’s bound to get tough. Nothing will change at first. It is then that you must remember that when the Red Sea split, all seas split. Every blockage in the world exists solely for you to overcome it. Keep marching into the water. Even if it comes right up to your neck, just march right on. The water will split and you’ll get through safely. The miracle has already happened, the path was opened for you thousands of years ago. There is nothing in the world, not an ocean or a river or a cup of coffee, that can stand in the way of you reaching your mountain.
1. Shemot Rabbah 21:6.
2. R’ Shalom of Belz.