Friday, January 14, 2011

Parshat Beshallach – Wise response to fear

Parshat Beshallach – Ex. 14:13-15.  “And Moses said to the people: ‘Do not be afraid, make a stand, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will work for you today; for while you have seen the Egyptians today, you shall see them again no more forever.  The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.’ And the Lord said to Moses: ‘Why are you crying to Me? Speak to the children of Israel, that they go forward.’”

In the words of Rabbi Alan Lew (z’el), five steps of spiritual transformation are set forth in Moses’ instructions to the Israelites when they have their backs against the sea and to us when we feel trapped physically, emotionally, or spiritually:

Al teyrau – Do not panic.  Do not be afraid of illusions, phantoms, or terrors that are not real. 
Heetyatzvu – Stand still, face your fear, and let reality come into focus.  
Uru – See what is real. 
Tachareshun – Gather yourself.  Be in the present moment; and 
Vyesau – Get going.  

May we, like the Israelites, see our fears, know when to be still and when and how to take the next steps toward spiritual transformation.  

 Listen to Rabbi Alan Lew's talk.

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