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The Days of Yore

02/05/2020 03:07:49 PM


Besides, the traffic, one of the major setbacks of Atlanta is that it is landlocked. Granted one can enjoy the scenic views along the Chattahoochee, or relax along engineered Lake Lanier, but they don’t compare to my memories of the Florida beaches where I grew up. Living a quick fifteen-minute drive from the beach meant that a spontaneous stroll along the boardwalk was a reality. Enjoying an ice-cream by the waves, or backgammon by the coast were always options thrown around amongst myself and my friends. But the truth is, I didn’t get to the beach nearly as often as I should have. I took it for granted. And now that I can’t be there on a whim, I miss it.

The Egyptians of Parshat Beshalach have a similar experience. After the devastation of the tenth plague, and the rapid exodus of the Israelites, it finally hits the Egyptians that the Israelites are gone for good. “What is this we have done, releasing Israel from our service?” (Exodus 14:5). Prior, Moses had repeatedly asked Pharaoh for the people to go to worship God in the wilderness for three days, and one can imagine that when Pharaoh and his courtiers let them go, they thought they’d be back after the three-day time period. Yet, when news of Israel’s intentions for a one-way trip get back to Pharaoh, the Egyptians must face the possibility of a future without the Hebrew slaves. The Egyptians didn’t really know how good they had it, until they could see the hole the Israelites left in their lives.

Like the South Florida beaches of my memory, or the backbreaking work of the Israelites, there are things in life that we take for granted. We go about our routines not always feeling grateful for all the blessings in our life. But once you take those things away, we recognize how much better things were while they were present. How much more can we enjoy our lives if we didn’t take things for granted? Knowing that nothing is forever, how can we change our attitude to find meaning in every moment, everything and everyone? If we can appreciate the things and people in our lives, perhaps we can avoid being like Egyptians unsuccessfully grasping at their losses. And perhaps we can make every moment count, seize every opportunity, and live our lives to the fullest.

Shabbat Shalom

Sat, October 31 2020 13 Cheshvan 5781