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April 1: The Red Sea Splits

April 1, 2013

splitting_the_red_sea2The Red Sea miraculously split on this date in 1313 BCE, allowing the fleeing Hebrew slaves, seven days gone from Egypt, to rush across before the waters closed up and drowned Pharaoh's pursuing cavalry — this according to the Biblical schedule of time as calculated by the Lubavitcher hasidic movement. According to the Midrash, Nachshon, a prince of the tribe of Judah — and an ancestor of Boaz and, through him, King David (and, through David, the Messiah) — was the first to plunge into the sea, right up to his chin, before the waters parted. A successful Israeli military operation that began on April 5, 1948, during the War of Independence, to break the Arab siege of Jerusalem by opening the Tel-Aviv-Jerusalem road and supply food and weapons to Jews in the city, was named Operation Nachshon.

"He sanctified the name of God by springing first into the Red Sea; he is worthy to bring down the Shekhinah . . ." —Numbers Rabbah