Hallel: Second Paragraph: Infinite Possibilities
Psalm 114: Second Paragraph: Infinite Possibilities
• The moment at which we sing Hallel takes us back to the creation.
• The events that lead us to sing Hallel were specified at creation. “This moment of joy was always meant to be.”
• We celebrate the level of existence at which all the laws of nature , as we know them, are suspended.
• We can exist at a level at which all of existence will respond to our actions and choices.
“When Israel left Egypt, Jacob’s family from among a people who spoke a strange language, Judah became God’s Holy Place, Israel, His realm. The Sea saw it and ran away. The Jordan River reversed course. The mountains danced like deer, the hills like lambs. What’s with you, Sea, that you flee? With the Jordan, that you turn around? With the Mountains, that you dance like deer? With the hills, like lambs? Quake, you Land, before your Master, before the Lord of Jacob! Who turned the rock into a pool of water. Pebbles into a source of water.”
The Red Sea did not want to split at Moshe’s command. “The water was created on the third day of creation. The first human was created three days later. Why should we, who came first, split at your command?” God instructed the water to split: “I created you on the condition that you would split at a specific moment before the Children of Israel so they could escape the Egyptian army. This is the moment I intended at the very instant of your creation.” (Shemot Rabbah 21)
The Splitting of the Sea was planned from the beginning of creation. The Midrash takes us back even earlier than the third day when the seas were formed: The sea split just as God split the Upper and Lower waters on the second day of creation. (Midrash Tadshai, Chapter 3)
God wanted the Children of Israel to know that the moment of the splitting of the sea had been planned from the very beginning of creation. Everything that happened was foreseen by God: everything that had happened and everything yet to be.
Yet, although these above Midrashim describe the Splitting as something planned, other Midrashim describe the splitting of the water as a response to Joseph’s coffin, Moses’ staff, or the courageous people of the Tribe of Judah who marched into the water even before it split.
The Midrashim are not debating what caused the water to split. They agree that at the time of creation God planned that the water split at the moment when they were stimulated by Joseph’s coffin, Moses’ staff and the courage of Judah.
We demonstrated in the first level of Hallel that this paragraph celebrates the vocabulary of an entirely different level of existence; the level at which water splits, mountains dance and rocks can produce streams of water. This level of existence is available to us. We understand that at this level, all of creation responds to our actions and choices.