MIRACLE ON THE RIVERS
By the CyberRav—Rabbi Rafi Rank
Shabbat Shalom, Everyone. CyberRav here with a bit of Aural Torah for you!
We’re all pretty quick to question God over the disasters that occur in life, but there are other times when God, deserving of praise, is overlooked or ignored. I want to make sure that doesn’t happen this week, when New Yorkers and good people around the world acknowledge the rescue of 155 people aboard US Airways 1549 out of LaGuardia, after its crash into the Hudson River. Governor Patterson of New York has referred to it as “the miracle on the Hudson,” and indeed it was.
There are many heroes to name in this miracle, but the one who deserves our accolades above all others is the pilot, Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberg III, 57 years old of Danville, California. His masterful use of the Hudson as an emergency runway, along with his years of expertise as a pilot, allowed for all 155 people to emerge from that plane in one-piece. Barukh HaShem—thank God that this terrifying landing has concluded with a happy ending.
In a supreme irony of the way in which Torah and life are interrelated, our parashah this week relates a miraculous rescue from the water. The rescue did not happen on as large a scale as the Hudson rescue, but the implications of the biblical rescue are no less miraculous. For the Nile was to be the grave of so many little Jewish boys, Pharaoh having declared that they be drowned in order to check Israelite population growth. As it turned out, the Israelite women did all within their power to protect their babies, and in the case of one family, the little boy was hidden for three months, then placed in a waterproof basket in the reeds of the Nile. A great hiding place, at least until Pharaoh’s own daughter discovered the baby and pulled it from the Nile. And who would that little boy become? He would become none other than Moses, the supreme prophet of God who led the Israelites out of Egypt and to the Promised Land.
We don’t always get a second chance in life but some very lucky passengers on Flight 1549 have been given just that, and it should give us all reason to ponder the way in which we all choose to spend our days. None of us need to become Moses, but it would be more than sufficient if we all committed to becoming ourselves, that is, the very best of who we could be if we were to use all the resources available to us wisely, including our time, our money, our talents, our dreams, and all those who are here on earth ready and willing to help us.
It is reported that just before the plane went down, Captain Sullenberg informed his passengers and crew to “prepare for a hard landing.” They did and thank God everyone survived that ordeal. But having survived the hard landing, it is time to prepare for a meaningful living. No one lives life having been cast into a river. We live life by emerging from the river, intent on living ethically and gratefully.
This is Rafi Rank, the CyberRav, wishing you a Shabbat Shalom, and encouraging you to spread a little aural Torah around your Cyber community!