Beshalach means “when he sent”—and contains an incredible story of leadership and heroism.
Only seven days after leaving the confinement of Mitzrayim (Egypt), the Children of Israel found themselves at the edge of the Red Sea, trapped between the water’s edge and the fierce Egyptian army thundering towards them. Afraid, they cried out to Moses, wanting to know what they should do.
Then, one brave man, Nachshon Ben Aminadav, the head of the Tribe of Judah, stepped up to the plate—and right into the sea. As he began to walk into the water, it first reached his ankles, then his knees. Nothing happened. He continued onward, and the water reached his waist, his chest, his shoulders, then his neck. Still, the water didn’t split. By now, he must have been feeling challenged, and pushed to the limit. Yet his faith remained strong and he continued to move forward.
As 2–3 million Jews watched, Nachshon stepped deeper into the water, as it covered his mouth and went up to his nostrils. Then and only then, at the final moment before the water would have swallowed him whole, God intervened, and the Red Sea split. Nachshon’s brave actions allowed the Children of Israel to pass through on dry land.