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Making Nahshons... -- Shabbat Message 1/30/2015

Posted on 01/30/2015 @ 12:00 PM

This week’s Torah portion, Beshallah, includes the moment when the Israelites, while departing Egypt, hit a wall – of water. The entire nation is together and they all stop. There is no option to go around and there’s a moment of panic. Water is in front of them and the Egyptian army are behind them. Moses tells the people to trust and go into the water, but they are (understandably!) scared. The midrash tells of one individual, Nahshon, who has the ultimate faith in G-d and Moses, and is the one who walks into the water. The water doesn’t part at his toes. It doesn’t part at his waist or even his chest. The midrash says he had to walk into the water up to his nose before it parted. Supported by Moses, Nahshon enables the future of the Israelites.

We lost a great colleague this week. During the funeral for Todd Kay, one of the Rabbis referenced this parsha. He recognized Todd’s similarity to Moses in this scene. He wasn’t the one in the front of the room (or sea), but he enabled everyone else. He created Nahshons who felt supported, encouraged, and empowered to walk into the water.

“You were an incredible mentor throughout my high school years and I was lucky to have known you. You inspired me to become a leader and that was an incredible gift.” (Ben Cutler, Facebook)

“TK's Neshama was felt by everyone in attendance today at Fairmount Temple. If you were lucky enough to have crossed paths with him you are surely thankful. He left a lasting impression on all of us in life and his memory is a blessing to all of us.” (Jane Altman Zoldan, Facebook)

“TK was that special person who makes one feel like they're important all the time, and that they can count on him in everything they’re doing.” (Lane Schlessel, former BBYO staff, at the funeral)

Several of our colleagues were able to attend his funeral yesterday and Ira wrote a very powerful reflection on that experience. (Which is definitely worth reading in its entirety!) One thing that shines through every Facebook message, eulogy, and reflection: Todd is as positive a presence today as he was last week, and we have scores of Nahshons to prove it.

Shabbat Shalom,


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