Each day in our liturgy, we remember that God took us out of Mitzrayim. While Mitzrayim is the name given to Egypt, there is a belief that the word is derived from m’tzarim meaning from narrowness or from tightness. When we pray, we remember how good freedom from restriction and constriction is. In this month’s edition of Sh’ma, Israel was referred to as a bridge between East and West; between China and America. To be a bridge is sometimes to be constricted between two different sides. While bridges provide opportunities to connect otherwise separated entities, it can be daunting to be the one in the middle.
When we hear about conflict, we often get advice “not to get in the middle of it.” Tension however, can often be relieved when an outside mediator steps in. While China and America might be competing for positions as global powers, it is amazing to look at the value that both place on the small state of Israel; the narrow country acting as a bridge between two powers. America and Israel are connected through their shared democratic values and a rich history of cooperation. Whereas China and Israel may seem to be polar opposites, they each have rich ancient cultures and value innovation and industry.
The words Kol ha’olam kulo gesher tzar m’od (all the world is a very narrow bridge) remind us that to be alive is to be caught in the middle. Even when feeling constricted though, we must remember that out of our tough positions can come redemption and greatness. When we find ourselves feeling like bridges, stuck in positions of uncertainty, may we remember that we have the power to reach out, broaden ourselves, and connect to others.email print