"If you find yourself in a place where no one is stepping up to do the right thing, be the person that does"
Ethic of Our Ancestors
On the seventh day of Pesach we read the section of the Torah that tells the story of the splitting of the Red Sea. We will chant the Song of the Sea that Moses and the Israelites sang in praise and thanks for having been saved from the Egyptians.
According the Midrash the Israelites owe their success in crossing the sea not to Moses, but to Nachshon Ben Aminadav. The rabbis teach that when Moses raised his hands to split the sea, no one moved forward. Everyone was afraid to step down into the dry seabed. They were frozen in fear of the Egyptians behind them and the awesome site of a sea split in two before their eyes. The rabbis tell us that it was Nachshon who bravely took the first steps and served as the role model for the rest of the Israelites. When the people needed a leader to step forward, Nachshon was there.
This is an important message for us to embrace. When we find ourselves in situations where we need someone to step forward and lead, do we sit around and wait for that person to emerge or do we take the initiative ourselves and become that leader? When we see injustice around us, do we wait for others to act or do we take action ourselves?
This Pesach, lets strive to be more like Nachshon and search out times and places where we can strive to do the right thing.
Rabbi Bradley Tecktiel has been Midbar Kodesh Temple's spiritual leader since August 2008. Rabbi Tecktiel was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in May of 1996. He holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees, one from List College and one from Columbia University. He also holds a Masters of Arts from the Jewish Theological Seminary.
You can follow him on Twitter @RabbiMKT