[יג] ר' יוחנן הוה יתיב דרש כיצד היו המים עשויין לישר' כחומה. דרש ר' יוחנן כאילין קנקילייא. אדיקת שרח בת אשר ואמרת תמן הוינא ולא הוון אלא כאילין אמפומטא. ר' יוחנן הוה יתיב דרש כל הנפש הבאה ליעקב מצרימה יצאי יריכו וגו' (בראשית מו:כו), ויוסף ושני בניו, והא אינון חסירין חדא, ר' לוי בשם ר' חמא בר' חנינא זו יוכבד שנולדה על פילי מצרים. ויש אומ' סרח בת אשר השלימה מניינן של יש', אנכי שלומי אמוני ישראל (שמואל ב' כ:יט), אני השלמתי מיניינן של ישר', אני השלמתי נאמן לנאמן. א"ר תנחום בר' חנילאי הקב"ה נכנס עמהם בכבודו. ומה טעמא, הוא תהלתך והוא אלהיך (דברים י:כא), מה כת' בתריה בשבעים נפש ירדו אבותיך מצרימה (שם כב).

R. Yohanan sat [in the teacher's seat] and expounded how the waters [of the Sea of Reeds] became like a wall for Israel. R. Yohanan was explaining that the wall of water looked like those latticed bars (or net), Serach bat Asher grew impatient (or looked down) and said, "I was there, and the waters were, rather, like shining windows [or “windows of light”]....

  • How might R. Yohanan and Serach bat Asher’s descriptions of the “walls”of the Sea inform the experience of crossing the sea?

  • Do either of these speak to the current moment for you? In this country, in your community or in your own life?

  • In your own experience now, do you feel more like you are crossing the sea or walking through the desert? Or is there another moment in the journey that resonates with your experience? How so?

  • What is the role of memory/ telling our story in the process of change/ liberation?

Amanda Gorman “The Hill We Climb” (excerpt)

When day comes we ask ourselves, 'where can we find light in this never-ending shade, the loss we carry, a sea we must wade?'...

"Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true: that even as we grieved, we grew; that even as we hurt, we hoped; that even as we tired, we tried; that we'll forever be tied together victorious, not because we will never again know defeat but because we will never again sow division….

"When day comes, we step out of the shade, aflame and unafraid. The new dawn blooms as we free it. For there is always light if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it."

  • What resonates (or not) with you in Amanda Gorman’s poem? What does this text add to your discussion?

וּבְיַם סוּף מִנַּיִן שֶׁהִמְרוּ, אֶלָּא כֵּיוָן שֶׁיָּרְדוּ לְתוֹךְ הַיָּם הָיָה מָלֵא טִיט שֶׁהָיָה עַד עַכְשָׁו לַח מִן הַמַּיִם וְהָיָה בּוֹ כְּמִין טִיט. . . . וְהָיָה אוֹמֵר רְאוּבֵן לְשִׁמְעוֹן, בְּמִצְרַיִם בְּטִיט, וּבַיָּם טִיט. בְּמִצְרַיִם בְּחֹמֶר וּבִלְבֵנִים, וּבַיָּם חֹמֶר מַיִם רַבִּים, הֱוֵי: וַיַּמְרוּ עַל יָם בְּיַם סוּף.

In what ways did the Israelites rebel at the Sea of Reeds? It was precisely at the moment went they went down into the sea bed, and found it full of mud, because it was still wet from the water. There were two Israelites Reuven and Shimon who were among the Israelites. As they walked through the sea, all they could talk about was the mud. Reuven said: "In Egypt, we had mud, and now here too in the sea we have mud. In Egypt, we had clay for bricks, and here too, we have an abundance of clay to make bricks. They rebelled at the sea, even though this was the parting of the Sea of Reeds! They didn't notice the water, instead they saw the mud.

וְעָלוּ בְנֵי יִשְרָאֵל בְּגוֹ יַמָא בְּיַבֶּשְׁתָּא וּמַיָא קַרְשְׁווּן הֵי כְשׁוּרִין דְּמִן תְּלַת מְאָה מִילִין מִיַּמִינְהוֹן וּמִשְמָאלְהוֹן
And the children of Israel went through the midst of the sea upon the ground, and the waters were congealed like a wall, three hundred miles on their right hand and on their left.