by Rabbi Mara Young
Midnight gripped the air
as I ran with bundled bread on my back,
sand stung my legs as I hurried toward the water.
Not a word amongst us, just panic in our eyes,
as we heard the 600 hundred chariots,
whips slapping the hides,
like they used to slap our backs.
All I could offer was a panting breath,
a heave of my chest.
When we stood at the sea, still we said nothing,
Hands on knees, mouths open, gasping for air –
gasping for words –
but the salt of the waters sucked dry our mouths.
As I looked into the black mirror before me,
my lips were silenced but my heart sang.
My faith unwavered, my determination pounding like the blood in my veins
knowing, knowing it would happen.
And in that moment my heart swelled with words and melodies,
prayers of knowing and blessings of love.
With each heavy breath the sea bubbled,
it frothed, it heaved, it lifted.
As the walls rose higher, my heart grew larger
I was drowning in the miracle.
Dawn warmed the waters from blue to golden orange,
the mist on my cheek began to roll off with the heat.
As a new shore firmed under my feet
I ran into the sand and collapsed.
My heart pumped to capacity, it burst within me,
and I sang.
Rabbi Mara Young is the Director of Congregational Learning at Woodlands Community Temple in Greenburgh, NY.