Published on: 4/29/16
Do fish get wet? Do gefilte fish get wet?
The answer to that odd question contains the secret to the Jew’s relationship with God – a secret which is predicated upon a new reading of an old tale: the Jews never crossed the Red Sea.
So teaches Tosafot and Maimonides.
The sea split alright, but the Jews did not cross. Instead of crossing, the Jews entered the dry sea bed, walked around in a semi-circle and exited some ways down the same beach.
If this is true, then why?
Because the Splitting of the Sea did not happen so that the Jews could run away from Egyptians. The Splitting of the Sea happened so that they could run away from old ways of thinking.
The Splitting of the Sea was about wading into the water and realizing that you yourself are water.
Torah is water, and Jews learn Torah. But it goes deeper. Jews are Torah. Jews are water.
The Splitting of the Sea was a prelude to the encounter with God at Mount Sinai, whetting the Jewish palate by showing them that water itself cannot get wet. Just like fish – gefilte fish included – cannot get wet. On some level, fish don’t get wet because fish themselves are part of the water. On some level, fish and water are one and the same. Just see what happens when fish are separated from water … (or Jews are separated from Torah).