A Sabbath Message: B’Shalach – Navigating Difficult Times and Emotions

Emotions run high in times of crisis. Especially prolonged crisis. Even more so in times when we think we are nearing the light at the end of the tunnel only to find that somehow, despite faithfully trudging forward, we remain in the darkness. Yes, I am talking about this week’s Parsha, B’Shalach. Once again, Torah is living up to its name as the guidebook for life. The root of Torah is Yud-Resh-Hey, meaning “to guide/instruct.”  
 
In Parshat B’Shalach, the Israelites are finally freed from Egypt. But only after living through ten plagues. Only after living through the taxing emotional ups and downs of Pharaoh repeatedly changing his mind about their fate. When they are finally set free, it is not for long. Pharaoh once again changes his mind and pursues the Israelites to the Sea of Reeds. Again, they find themselves in the face of mortal danger. Again, they triumph. Although the Torah explains that these plot twists are a way for God to instill faith in the Israelites and fear in their foes, God’s actions appear to create more emotional fatigue and doubt in the Israelites than anything.  
 
Repeatedly throughout this Parsha, we find the Israelites lamenting their fate. They are hungry, thirsty, exhausted, afraid. They are running on emotional empty, and it is showing. They are taking it out on Moses. Despite his best efforts at providing sustenance and faith-inducing miracles, the Israelites continue to be filled with doubt and fear. They thought they would be on the other side of this all by now. They thought they would be clear of the dark clouds of the unknown. They will get there. But the Promised Land is still a ways off.  
 
Our texts provide us with the reminders we need to stay on course in difficult times. Our community provides us with the resources we need to make heeding these reminders possible. I am proud to work for an organization that provides resources to our community that keep us going in times when we feel like we don’t know how we can muster the strength for another step. We all need a guiding hand once in a while. We all have the ability to step up and be someone’s Moses in their time of need. 
 
We are currently expanding two amazing programs: Caring Visitors and Jewish Family Service. Our Caring Visitors program serves seniors and others in need who would like someone to visit their home once a week for an hour of company and conversation. We are currently seeking visitors and visitees for this meaningful program. For more information on Caring Visitors contact Rabbi Debi Lewis at dlewis@sbjf.org or (805) 957-1116. 
 
Jewish Family Service has two wonderful associate MFTs currently taking on new clients. Counseling services are offered on a sliding scale and are open to everyone, regardless of faith-identification. We take Medicare and most insurance. For more information on Jewish Family Service contact Susan Lambrose at slambrose@sbjf.org or (805) 957-1116. 
 
We will get there together. Wishing you a peaceful Shabbat and restorative long weekend.  
 
Hugs,

Samantha Silverman
Camp Haverim Director