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    Why the big deal?

    Israelites crossing the sea, Venice Haggadah, 1609

    The splitting of the Red Sea is more prominent in Jewish thinking than other miracles.

    The sages even say, “It is as hard for God to make a union between man and woman as it is to split the Red Sea… it is as hard for God to provide human beings with their food as it is to split the Red Sea”.

    Nothing is impossible for God: so how can something be hard for Him?

    A contemporary author suggests the difficulty “consists in reconciling two contrary demands of compassion”.

    The rescue of the Israelites entailed the drowning of the Egyptians, who were also God’s creatures.

    (In the seder custom of spilling a drop of wine at the mention of each of the ten plagues; we symbolically weep for the Egyptians’ suffering. Likewise, after the first two days of Pesach we shorten the Hallel, because God is said to have rebuked the angels, “My creatures the Egyptians are perishing, and you want to sing?”)

    Making a marriage requires balancing the personalities and sensibilities of husband and wife; feeding one person may mean a second person goes without. This is why some things are difficult for God – not impossible, but not easy either.

    His example teaches us to be careful in seeking to balance conflicting claims, needs and opinions.

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