News From Ramaz
By Rabbi Justin Pines, MS Mashgiach Ruchani
This week we read of how Hashem split the sea and brought our ancestors across the dry land, where they thanked Him by singing Shirat HaYam, the Song of the Sea. One of the first lines of the song is Zeh Kehli V'Anvehu / This is my God and I will beautify Him / Elokhei Avi V'Aromemenhu / my father's God and I will elevate Him.
Is it my God or my parents' God? As the 6th graders will tell you, the answer is yes (both).
From here we learn that each generation, each individual, must forge their own unique relationship with God, while also appreciating the relationship of our ancestors with God. B'nei Yisrael was told over and over in Egypt, the God of your ancestors will free you from slavery, and it seems some of them struggled with that idea. But now, after kriyat yam suf, the splitting of the sea, they feel it: this is my God! And now I understand what Moshe means when he says this was the God of my ancestors. This is one reason why the opening bracha of Shmoneh Esrei refers to Hashem as our God and also the God of our ancestors.
We each have the opportunity to not only benefit from the unique relationships our ancestors created with Hashem, but to create our own unique relationship with Hashem. And we are blessed that our sages instituted tefillah, as daily opportunities to connect with Hashem. They foresaw a busy time of ten hours of school, and homework, and Netflix and iphones, and realized we need to build time into our schedule to quietly connect with Hashem. Let's use that time well. And even if you are struggling to tap into it on a given day, let's at least be careful not to interrupt others who are connecting.