Last Breath Gives Hope

Ocean_surface_wave

Last Breath Gives Hope

It wasn’t long before it would be too cold catching the last awesome waves before fall. My high school friend and I decided to head for the beach and hit some waves (body surfing). Of course, by the time we arrived, it was cloudy and riptide warnings were given. But we were strong swimmers and knew what we were doing (so we thought).

No one was at the beach—not even a Lifeguard. It was all to ourselves! The waves were very big, and inviting. We were having a blast. My friend wasn’t too far from me, but the distance was enough that caused a separation by a couple of waves; allowing her to get back to shore without much effort. Without warning things shifted, the waves became extremely HUGE! I tried to swim in but I had to turn back to swim over the waves to not be crushed (which meant going out further). Unfortunately, without knowing at the time, I was entangled in riptides and deeply snared.

The waves soon became too immense and powerful. I was getting tired. How many more waves could I swim over to avoid being smashed underwater while realizing the uselessness of trying to get back to shore? I was too far out to body surf to shore. The waves were crashing over more waves. The scenery of fun faded; only death was around the corner. The powerful waves brought mayhem with no way out. It no longer mattered that I knew how to swim in riptides; unfortunately, pride got me into a life-threatening situation. Tired muscles feeling like rubber, numb, and panicked, I was in a terrible position without time to think things through. The ability to stay above water was a concern. The riptides were overpowering me in my weakness.

Looking at eye level over the surface of the ocean while the waves tumbled over me, salt water in my eyes, my view became blurry while being swept underwater; a reality check on life—almost too late. I was slammed underwater.

The waves began to thrash about; dragging and twisting me in every direction. I opened my eyes in salty water; hoping to see which way the bubbles were going. The bubbles were whirling in all directions. I managed to find my way to the surface and gasp for air just as another wave came crashing down; spiraling downwards and dragged once more along the ocean floor like a Raggedy-Ann doll (I can still see it in my mind).

I, again, attempted to get to the surface. When I felt the ocean floor with my hands, I placed my feet on the sandy ground, with all my might; I pushed up and swam as hard as I could. Hopelessly, after reaching the surface, little air received before another enormous wave crashed down on me; spiraling downwards, again. At that point I couldn’t do it anymore. I was out of breath and out of all my strength. I was going to drown—I was out of time! No one could help me, my mistake was horrific. My family and friends would be devastated.

Out of breath, beyond exhaustion, unable to fight, packed with sand from dragging along the ocean bottom, too far from shore, out of hope, I cried out to G-d (obviously in my mind—not outwardly to get water in my mouth). I told G-d I couldn’t do it anymore and asked Him to help me. I needed Him! I was so scared (thirty-some years later, and I still tear-up).

As soon as I called out to G-d for help something powerful happened! Though I couldn’t see who or what, an amazing strong Almighty Power reached down into the depths of the riptides that bound me. With a rushing of water, I was brought (carried) up out of the water– able to gasp for air. G-d or one of His angels protected me. Miraculously, the waves were still large (though in a peaceful state); none of the waves dragged me down. I was freed from the snare. I was able to swim in a zig-zag motion. I soon could see my friend. She was running up and down the shoreline calling out my name. When I got to shore, my friend grabbed my arm and helped me up the dry sandy beach. I collapsed. She said she didn’t know what to do. She said she would see my head pop out of the water just as another wave would crash down over me for long periods of time–expecting to find a dead body floating.

We had made an enormous mistake acting cool, haughty, and prideful—especially me. When we are tempted with sin, like riptides, we need to stay away from it. When we act out in our Nefesh (Flesh), we become prideful and haughty (by saying I can handle it, I’ve done it before), and become entangled. And before we realize it, Ha’satan (Satan) has his grip on us. The enemy uses our own desires to trap us.

Out of breath, out of time, out of hope (from our own efforts), HIS GLORY can lift us out of the dirt (or should I say water). In my own efforts I had nothing. I was overpowered and weakened quickly. In Hashem’s strength, hope was found: Behold a mighty strong arm WHO can reach into the depths of darkness and bring us to His Light!

I didn’t know who G-d really was (no relationship), but I knew G-d is the Creator of all things. I wasn’t walking in the right way I should have. But when I called out to G-d with my last breath of life, pleading for His help, Hashem answered my cry (knowing I would SEEK after Hashem years later). I am humbled by the love and mercy Hashem has for someone like me to give me ‘time’ and set my path to be introduced to Him many years later, properly. Hashem loves you too. If you do not know Him yet, Hashem is just a thought, a call, a cry out to, and a prayer away. Do not delay in seeking Hashem. We never know when we will have our last breath of life.

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is G-d from of old, Creator of the earth from end to end, He never grows faint or weary, His wisdom cannot be fathomed. He gives strength to the weary, Fresh vigor to the spent. Youths may grow faint and weary, And young men stumble and fall; But they who trust in the LORD shall renew their strength As eagles grow new plumes: They shall run and not grow weary, They shall march and not grow faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31)[1]

Our G-d is very gracious, and merciful. From the depths of chaos, and darkness, Hashem brought order with peace (Shalom). Let’s look at the Book of Genesis for more understanding:

Genesis 1:2 teaches us “the earth being unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind from G-d sweeping over the water.”[2]

  • The Ruach (wind) of G-d was moving over the surface of the waters.
  • Moving means “hovering.” Like a bird hovering/fluttering over its young.

In my attempt to enter water in chaos, the deep was not in order. The disorderly waves could not be controlled by man, only by its Creator G-d of Majesty. In my weakness and last breath in despair, my call out to G-d (protective mother bird) did He move quickly: hovering over the waters; bringing hope and protection by removing the darkness and chaos that captured me. The waves remained large, but a given order of peace moved over the waters.

G-d said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. G-d saw that the light was good, and G-d separated the light from the darkness.” (Genesis 1:3-4)[3]

  • Elohim divided the ohr (light).
  • Ohr is a light. Eternal Light, light of life, light of instruction, Hashem’s shining face. Proverbs 6:23 “For a commandment is a lamp and the Torah light.”
  • Choshech, darkness, obscurity.

Pride and haughtiness is a sin of rebellion, and like all sins, man becomes ignorant into believing their sins are hidden in darkness (Choshech). Sin will find itself out (Numbers 32:23). Sin is a snare, entangled with destruction or death.

The Eternal Light of G-d (Ohr), sees all, and knows all. Darkness cannot comprehend G-d’s light and power. All creation must obey the word of G-d. Torah is the Light, and the Lamp. Hashem has all power (Gvurah) over the chaos, darkness, and terror. With His word, the water became peaceful and the rage was gone—Be still and know that I am G-d.

I have shared this story during home school, as well as with youth groups. It’s too easy to let pride take over. It can be hard for someone to ask for help when the sin has entangled them. My life-threatening experience was extreme, thankfully, most people will never endure that. The good news is we have forgiveness. And through forgiveness, we are cleansed with Hashem’s righteousness.

Leading up to Cleansing:

It is thought-provoking the near-drowning encounter Hashem allowed me to go through that in every way of a human being in that situation, there was no way out by man’s own effort. I was trapped with limited air. His power is mighty. He never lost control, nor did Hashem lose me. He had a hold of me in His hand even when I felt everything was hopeless.

“Fear not for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your G-d; I have strengthened you, even helped you, and even sustained you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:14) [4]

In Exodus, we are reminded that after the ten plagues, and the Israelites were released to leave Egypt; including pleasing items (livestock, silver, gold, and fine linens). After three days, the Pharaoh regretted releasing the Israelites (and the mixed multitude), commanding his strongest soldiers and chariots; bolting after them.

Hashem brought the Israelites out of Egypt in a route that would be a long way, not a shortcut. The Children of Israel would have traveled through the land of the Philistines had they have taken a shortcut. Hashem wanted to free the Children from all Egyptian influences. He wanted His soon-to-be Bride to unlearn “Egypt” and follow Him in the Torah, the Divine Way, and to be free of bondage and to be in covenant with Him.

We will begin to see two patterns, a separation.

  • Day One of Creation—Light and Darkness
  • Day Two of Creation—the separation of the upper and lower waters: Mayim (earthly), and Shemayim (heavenly).
  • Day Three of Creation—Wet and Dry Land, Resurrection, Eternity.
  • Water and Fire
  • Life and Death

Life and Death, Light and Darkness—spiritually and physically:

When Pharaoh pursued the Children of Israel, the Children became terrified; feeling trapped with no way out. They feared for their lives; sadly, some of the Children of Israel were willing to return as slaves under bondage; deceiving themselves that it was a life worth living. Others began to rebuke Moses; blaming G-d for bringing them out into the Wilderness to their graves.

“‘They said to Moses, “Were there no graves in Egypt that you took us to die in the Wilderness? What is this thing you have done to us to take us out of Egypt?’” (Exodus 14:11)[5]

Moses spoke to the Children by way of G-d’s assurance and tells them, “Do not fear! Stand fast and see the salvation of HASHEM that He will perform for you today; for as you have seen Egypt today, you shall not see them ever again!” (Exodus 14:13)[6]

“The angel of G-d who had been going in front of the camp of Israel moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and went behind them. 20. It came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel and there were a cloud and darkness—while it illuminated the night—and one did not draw near the other all the night.” (Exodus 14:19-20)[7]

Separation of Upper and Lower Waters, Dry Land, Fire and Water:

The Children of Israel needed to have faith knowing Hashem was all-powerful to save them from death, and to trust Hashem would never abandon them. Hashem told Moses to spread out his rod over the Reed Sea (Yom Suf) and split it with a mighty wind. Dry land came forth for the Israelites to journey the crossing. The path of the Israelites was upon day land, while the path under the feet of the enemy sinks; grabbing hold of the chariot wheels while the riders of the chariots were dragged to their death.

“At the blast of Your nostrils the waters piled up, The floods stood straight like a wall; The deeps froze in the heart of the sea.” (Exodus 15:8)[8]

  • Mayim—Earthly waters.
  • The water was shrewdly, and with its Chokmah (wisdom), the water sent judgement to Egypt, and a salvation to Israel. Water separated to dry land. We are reminded of Isaiah 63:13 about G-d’s vengeance upon the Nations. Waters can also remind us of the ocean depths of chaos, the Abyss and without form.The Heart of sea–Body of water that roars.

Let’s looks closer:

“Jonah prayed to the LORD his G-d from the belly of the fish. He said: In my trouble I called to the LORD, And He answered me; From the belly of Sheol I cried out, And You heard my voice. You cast me into the depths, Into the heart of the sea, The floods engulfed me; All Your breakers and billows Swept over me.  (Jonah 2:2-4)[9]

The lowest of the sea is unapproachable to man, and the heart of Heaven is less approachable by its height by man.“The heavens for height, the earth for depth, and the heart of the kings cannot be fathomed.” We are reminded in our human limitations, the King’s heart remains unsearchable. (Proverbs 25:3)[10]

Hashem knows the inner depths of the sea like the inner depths of our hearts. The heart of man is wicked, and through repentance (Teshuvah—turning back to the Father), our life is restored and reconciled to Hashem. He wrote His Torah on our heart. Our mini Menorah within becomes lit when we become crushed, and broken. But we can overcome with Hashem’s help.

Let’s look at connection of Creations Day Three and Five:

On the third day of Creation water was gathered; dry land appeared with plants, trees, and fruit-bearing seed. Land, trees, plants and fruits are visible. On the other hand, within the depths of water, man cannot see below the surface; physically by standing on land. In the depths of water, fish are hidden—concealed. The depths of life are a mystery and below the surface it is hidden. The Torah is Eternal, Hashem brings Resurrection.

Dry land and water are two layers. We also have two layers; one is our surface and the other is our concealed inner-self. Our top layer is the surface of our strengths, weaknesses, talents and abilities. It’s our personality and character seen. The inner-depth lies in wait; undeveloped with our hidden strengths, talents, and abilities until discovered.

Fish and birds were created on Day Five. Fish and Birds swim rapidly through mighty currents and in swarms. We are to take the Torah out to the Nations—rapidly! Man’s identity is found in the Torah— Israel swims in Torah. The Jewish people have been scattered; thankfully, Hashem is gathering His Chosen back to Israel, and bringing in the “other sheep” who are to become grafted into Israel.

Let’s take a closer look at numbers two, three and five more in-depth:

Two: Division, Separation, Conflict. The body, our vessel is more inclined to pull into the Yetzer Hara (Evil Inclination). This comes from the fall when Adam and Chavah ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. There is “Free Will” that has two sides to discern. The world we live in, the lives of those around us, by our words and deeds (good or evil) spoken or given, we can use it to build up or destroy (tear down). We become what we choose to be. We are our own manager of our soul. We can choose life and blessings, or death with curses. May our thoughts and deeds mirror Hashem; as two becoming one. Choose Life!

Three: Creation Day Two was not called “Good” until Day Three (Gathering). It brings balance to what was separated. There are three forefathers, better known as the Three Patriarchs; Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob was named “Israel.” Israel is where Hashem will gather His chosen people. Three resembles the three Pilgrimages: Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot. This also brings us to the understanding of being liberated from slavery (Passover), receiving the Torah (Marriage Covenant on Shavuot), and Sukkot is living in booths under the “Clouds of Glory,” under Hashem’s protection.

 THE SUKKAH (Hashem’s covering)—His PROTECTION.

On Tishrei fifteen to twenty-one, Sukkot, also known as the Feast of Tabernacles, is celebrated for the “Season of Joy.” After completing the sobering Fast of Yom Kippur (self-evaluation and teshuvah), we celebrate the love and provisions Hashem has given us. According to Leviticus 23:40 and Deuteronomy 16:14, we are commanded to be happy and rejoice. Imagine that, the Creator of the universe and the Highest King wants to celebrate with His people. Instead of complaining, we rejoice! Those with a willing and contrite heart were to bring their offerings.

It is a joyful act to the giver, as well as to the receiver-happiness. It is also a loving way to rejoice in all of Hashem’s provisions. Sukkot is an gathering of raising up tents or booths; praising Hashem for delivering us out of the land of Egypt; knowing His work has completed everything. They were to tell their children for all generations to always remember that Hashem is their/our G-d. It is a celebration remembering and praising Hashem for delivering the Israelites, and the mixed-multitude out of the Egyptian’s hands (slavery) of four hundred and thirty years. Sukkot is also one of the three appointed times known as “Pilgrimages.” The three pilgrimages are: Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot, as referenced in Deuteronomy 16:16.

The three signifies Hashem, Torah, and Israel. Esther 4:16 teaches us that Esther (Hadassah) fasted three days and three nights. It should remind us that Jonah was inside the belly of the whale for three days and three nights.

Five: The Five Books of the Torah are: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. The world was created by the Breath (Ruach) of Hashem using “Hey” (the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet), in order to reveal Hashem and His Will of Torah. “By the word of HASHEM the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their hosts.” (Psalms 33:6)[11] The fifth Festival is the Day of Atonement—Yom Kippur. The five Books of the Torah are foundational to understanding the Bible, and our life force (the giving of the Torah is our Covenant and marriage to Hashem—Redemption). Ohr (light) is mentioned in Creation Day One five times. Are we seeing more amazing connections?

Moses was sent upon the waters (Sea of Reeds) in a basket covered in pitch—a covering. The Water is the Torah and oil is the Wisdom within the Torah. Water is drawn from the well by a bucket. The bucket will distribute the water like a vessel—serving the Giver of the Torah. Torah cannot be given without wisdom. Wisdom is found in Torah of oil and water: “A truly wise person must recognize the importance of having both properties—oil and water—mingling with ordinary people freely, but ensuring that socializing with the masses does not cause him to be corrupted by the materialism of the world.” [12]How do we view ourselves? Prideful? Humble?

The Torah is the Blueprint of both man and creation. Just as the world is round, so must be the Torah; having no beginning or end. The cycle repeats itself. When the Torah Portions are read to the end, the Torah is rolled back to the beginning. This gives us an opportunity in life to “roll back” and start over with lessons learned for a better year breathing Life (Chesed/loving kindness) toward others; while growing closer to Hashem by walking in His Ancient Path. When we follow Torah in obedience, the path becomes narrower so that we can see more of G-d and less of ourselves.

We have been called to observe, keep, and guard (obey) His Torah. We are to be vigilant and safeguard Hashem’s Instructions—Torah. We are to take Torah—His Light—into the world to illuminate Hashem’s Light to the world without the dark world affecting us. The reality is, without Torah and without Israel, the world has no reason to exist.

When we become cornered in a situation (feeling helpless and hopeless from our own efforts), we are reminded that the Israelites experienced a horrible predicament. They were at the edge of the sea when the Egyptians were angrily approaching with powerful soldiers and fast chariots. They realized they needed a Higher Power—HASHEM! We, too, are limited in our abilities. When we become trapped, or in my case, without air while drifting under the depths of the sea, are we able to split our own sea with the help of Hashem. When we cry out to G-d, His Power is made known and additional strength is given.

Obstacles are not interruptions to the journey; they are the journey. Keep marching towards the Promised Land. Every challenge along the way will give you deeper insight and renewed power. Just have faith. It will split your sea.”[13]

Shalom!

 

 

[1] Isaiah 40:28-31, Sefaria

[2] Genesis 1:2, Sefaria

[3] Genesis 1:3-4, Sefaria

[4] Isaiah 41:14, The Stone Edition

[5] Exodus 14:11, The Stone Edition

[6] Exodus 14:13,The Stone Edition

[7] Exodus 14:19-20, The Stone Edition

[8] Exodus 15:8, Sefaria

[9] Jonah 2:2-4, Sefaria

[10] Proverbs 25:2, The Stone Edition

[11] Psalms 33:6, The Stone Edition

[12] The Wisdom in The Hebrew Month, Zvi Ryzman, Pg.88

[13] https://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/1831859/jewish/Why-the-Need-to-Split-the-Sea.htm

 

 

Categories: Musings & Blessings | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Last Breath Gives Hope

  1. Powerful. I love this testimony and the verse from Isaiah has helped me get through much!

    Like

    • Thank you! Hashem gets the glory…His love and mercy is amazing!

      “…those who hope in Hashem will renew their strength, they will soar aloft as with eagles’ wings; when they are running they won’t grow weary, when they are walking they won’t get tired.”

      Liked by 1 person

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