What to Do When You’re Stuck: Four Wrong Approaches and the Fifth Correct One

In this week’s Torah Portion, Beshalach, we encounter one of those most famous stories of the Bible, one that is told over and over again to the glee of children and to the fascination of adults: G-d splits the sea for the Jewish people to cross safely and finally escape the Egyptians, once and for all.

Here are the facts. The Jews leave Egypt. The Egyptians regret the decision to let their slaves free and run after them. The Jews, being followed by their enemy from behind, are now suddenly confronted by a new obstacle – the vast ocean in front of them.

This opens a whole new challenge; where do we go from here? The Jews are stuck between a rock and a hard place, with seemingly no good options.

Four different thoughts of opinion begin to emerge, representing the four ways to approach a dilemma when faced with adversity. 1. Escape; let’s jump into the sea and give up. 2. Surrender; let’s turn around and go back to being slaves – at least we will stand to live another day. 3. Fight; let’s confront the enemy and fight them for our freedom. 4. Believe; let’s lift our hands in prayer and ask God to save us. Believe it or not, all 4 of these approaches are wrong! Each one comes with limitations and doesn’t fully deal with the issue at hand. What, then, is the answer? MOVE FORWARD. Keep going. Forget ahead. And then the sea will split.

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