“Lessons of Midnight”
By Chava Floryn
When Moses was floating in the Reed river, wrapped in a blanket inside a tar made basket, he was saved by Princess Batya, the daughter of King Pharaoh when she heard baby Moses crying.
A Jewish cry is like no other. A Jewish cry is the cry of conviction and of resilience. Maybe when the Torah speaks of the Jewish nation being referred to as “The Chosen People”, it is referring to us as being chosen to be the cry of hope in the midst of the storm.
It is our job as a collective people to find that hope and pass it on to others. For the paradox of the human spirit residing in the hug of hope, is that, in order to have it, one must give it away. And who has endured more dark moments, more trying times than the Jewish nation? But how does one attempt hope without becoming a victim to one’s grief mired in a feeling of desperation and apathy when times challenge us as they are challenging us right now?
It is said in the Torah, the Jews after being enslaved, tortured, and persecuted for two hundred and ten years in Egypt finally left with Moses at Midnight. The sages ask, why was it necessary for the Jewish people to leave at that hour? It almost feels as if they were sneaking out of town, maybe afraid of being persecuted again when they should have been proudly leaving with their heads held high protected by their Higher Power. G-d created great miracles with the ten plagues, surely he was finally known to the world for his Divine powers. There would have been no need to “sneak” out of Egypt. If anything, they should have left in the middle of the day as testimony to G-d’s ultimate sovereignty over “The Great” Pharaoh and the entire world.
As always, no detail in the Torah is an accident. This small detail is the mystery to the greatest lesson of human survival. When you are feeling as if it can’t get any worse, all is lost, and hope is but a muted whisper, the Torah teaches us about the moment called, midnight. For midnight is the darkest point of the entire day cycle.
The minute after midnight, however, is the beginning of light emerging. This light continues to get a bit brighter minute by minute until it is shining with ultimate brightness upon the moment of morning sunrise.
As in life, there are times our challenges appear to be in the darkest scenes. And it feels as though it can’t possibly get any darker. It is at those moments we may not even feel G-d’s presence. We are left destitute without a map, veiled in a grave of black somber tears. But at that very moment when life is at its darkest, G-d’s sweet breath whispers hope upon the stroke of midnight. And just when you think it is the darkest, a moment after that begins the emergence of light. Every moment thereafter brightens with greater and greater force.
This is the lesson of the Jews leaving at Midnight to teach us how the human spirit can never stay in a state of darkness. This is not a natural place to STAY. It may be a natural place to endure, but ultimately light will seep into our challenges and propel us to new and greater heights. May it be His will. Amen.