In this week’s Torah portion the Israelites are up against a wall, or more literally, up against a sea. After the incredible demonstration of God’s Total Power via the plagues, one might expect that the Israelites would trust God and the process – like the saying “God didn’t bring you this far to drop you.” However, we learn from the Talmud and Midrash Rabbah that when faced with the Egyptians on their tail and Moshe’s command to enter the sea, each tribe was not willing to go in first, no one was willing to take the plunge. After all, how would they know that God would protect them?
And then Nachshon, the son of Aminadav stepped forward, went into the sea, and only then did the others follow. Before the sea would split, someone needed to take the first step.
Nachshon ben Aminadav demonstrated אֱמוּנָה emunah and בִּטָחוֹן bitachon. Emunah is usually translated as faith. Bitachon is usually translated as trust, however the more accurate translation is security). There is a difference between trust and security. Trust by definition is more vague, and security is more exact.
Having emunah and bitachon is the difference between watching a tightrope walker walk across a tightrope holding onto a wheelbarrow, versus getting in the wheelbarrow! It’s the difference between waiting for the sea to split before walking in (even though sure death was upon them if they did nothing!) and walking in before it split.
This is what Nachson ben Aminadav demonstrated. He got in the proverbial wheelbarrow.
On a side note, I love our Holy language and thought I would share a fun fact regarding Nachson ben Aminadav. Aminadav is a combination of two words; Ami which means “my people,” and Nadav which means….. “volunteer”…….My people, the volunteers! Nachson ben Aminadav volunteered to go into the sea before it split, hence its root (nadav) is the same root as the Hebrew word for volunteer!
So often in life we are up against a sea that has not split yet. It is precisely at these times that we must harness our spiritual DNA, that was set in full motion by Nachshon ben Aminadav, and get in the proverbial wheelbarrow, knowing that God has a plan and that plan is ultimately good.