It’s raining in Cape Town!
Rabbi Asher Deren, The Shul of Blouberg – West Coast
When people say that “the next world war will be fought over water”, it’s easy to realise how that could happen when right here at home, the Mother City is engaging in heavy discussions with the SA National Defence Force over how to prepare for Day Zero and what that could bring.
But what’s fascinating is that the first world war was also fought over water – right here in Africa.
True, it may not be documented as such, but the showdown between the superpowers on the northern Egyptian tip of the continent constantly revolves around water.
Pharaoh’s declaration of war began with (throwing new-born babies into) the water, and his chief opposition is (saved through a basket that floats on, is drawn from, and is named) from the water.
Pharaoh’s continuous assertion, almost 80 years later, that he still has no plans of surrendering is made during his morning “runs” to the water, and the first two (of the 10) strikes against him happen, of course, at the water.
And finally, in this week’s Parsha, Moses leads the people on a journey of liberation, their freedom only ensured with the miraculous splitting of, you guessed it, a sea of water, where the murderous legions of Pharaoh’s army see their final downfall.
Water, water, water…
We live in a world where we love to have control. What isn’t there an app for? Anything and everything can happen with the press of a button. Except the weather.
And that’s what had Moshe and Pharaoh at war.
“Not like Egypt” is how Moshe describes the land of Israel to the Jewish people. There’s no Nile River water on tap whenever you want it. There we turn our eyes heavenward, literally, whenever we need blessings of rain.
The showdown in Egypt was between an arrogant, narcissistic leader who believed that he had developed an app that could even control the rain. His obsession with water was an obsession with power and control. But he was in “de nile”.
While Pharaoh saw water as a source of power, Moshe saw it as a reminder of our humble vulnerability to the kindness of heaven.
At the Sinai Academy we have a three-pronged approach to water: THANK, SAVE, PRAY. Thank Hashem with Brachot for the waters we have and the nourishment it gives us. Save every drop of water in the way we wash, drink and cleanse. And pray – yes Cape Town, and all who love us, let’s pray.
As Cape Town turns our eyes heavenward, please G-d may all of Cape Town’s people, especially those most vulnerable at these times, be blessed with rain and all of Hashem’s blessings.