You have an underwater observatory

Friday, 29 January, 2021 - 6:56 am

 This week I was interviewed for a magazine that is due to come out during the month of Adar, the month of simcha.

The interviewer asked me, among other questions: “So, really, how do you give to another person, even someone that you don’t know very well, the power to be happy even when he is coping with challenging situations?”

“It’s like Kri’at Yam Suf (the Splitting of the Sea)”, I replied.

Yes, like Kri’at Yam Suf. But not because it’s as hard as Kri’at Yam Suf, but because it’s the same act as that Splitting of the Sea.

When one goes underwater one sees a whole wonderful world that is normally hidden from us. Whoever has visited an underwater observatory was probably astonished to see the wonderful, colorful scene of the fish, the other sea creatures and the plants. It is a fascinating, brilliantly colored world, which is completely hidden by the water. Someone who stands on the shore and looks towards the sea will not know anything about what is happening underwater. But the moment he dares and dives in, he will see the wonderful treasures.

All of us, too, have hidden worlds. Sometimes we go through our whole lives without getting to see our underwater worlds, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have them – beautiful, colorful and full of life; it just means that we haven’t yet gone down to see what we have and what we don’t.

It is precisely when a person is going through a challenging period that he acquires direct access to the hidden treasures, to that wonderful, hidden world. And then, especially then, he will discover that he has a tremendous treasure of powerful emunah (belief), survival and coping abilities, including the ability to feel simcha in any situation.

These are treasures that we all inherited from our forefathers, foremothers and grandparents. In our nation, in most cases they didn’t bring with them material wealth – indeed, materially, most of them were penniless survivors of catastrophies, but they brought with them spiritual wealth, powerful emunah, joy in any situation, head lifted high no matter what the challenge might be.

They left us this legacy and all we have to do is split the sea that hides it all, dive in and reveal it. It works, my friends – and I can say that from experience.

We are facing Shabbat Shira, the Shabbat of Kriat Yam Suf. It’s a good time to visit our underwater observatories.


Shabbat Shalom,


Rabbi Zalmen Wishedski

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