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    The waters stood upright – B’shllach

    Depiction of the crossing of the Red Sea, from the Sarajevo Haggadah

    One of the more puzzling statements in the Song of the Sea is the assertion that when the Israelites crossed the Sea, the waters stood upright (Ex. 15:8). We can understand how this made two columns between which the people could cross on dry land.

    But the Tanya (Sha’ar HaYichud) wonders whether such a miraculous event is feasible and could recur. Clearly it was the work of God, but like all Biblical miracles it is hard to fit it into the physical universe.

    The Tanya compares it to all the Divine miracles. If this was a miracle, says the Tanya, “how much more so is the creation of something ex nihilo – out of nothing – which transcends Nature and is far more miraculous than the splitting of the Red Sea, so that with the withdrawal of the power of the Creator from the thing created, God forbid, it would revert to nothingness and total non-existence. Surely the activating force of the Creator must continuously be in the thing created”.

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