By Bonnie G. Lindauer
I’ll never forget that day when I was almost left behind in Egypt. I was drawing camels in the dirt when I overheard someone at our front door telling my father to be ready to leave tonight.
“Be sure and put the blood of a lamb over your door so your first-born son will not be killed. We’ll meet at midnight near the Sea of Reeds. Don’t even take time to make regular bread,” he said.
What? I, Daniel, could be killed as the only son? I jumped up and ran into the house. My parents were talking excitedly.
“Finally, we’ll escape the terrible plagues and slavery,” my father cried.
“But where will we live and what will we eat?” asked my mother.
“We have to go,” I said. “I don’t want to die.”
“Don’t worry Daniel. I have no answers for your mother, but we’re leaving tonight.” he said.
At nightfall we ate our last meal in Egypt. My father said the prayers, even a blessing on the flat, dry bread. When we heard a crowd of people passing, we gathered our bundles and left.
We joined the crowd walking toward the Sea of Reeds. A man named Moses was to be our leader. As we were waiting for Moses, I remembered something important that I had left behind. I looked for my father to ask permission to return home, but I couldn’t find him. My mother seemed not to hear me through her tears and quiet prayers, so I asked my sister to tell them what I was doing.
I raced back home. Although it was dark, I managed to find the lucky coin under my mattress. I clasped it tightly and hurried back to where I left them.
But when I arrived, they were gone. How could they leave without me? I looked ahead in the distance and noticed lights.
I finally caught up with the end of the crowd. I pushed my way through, hollering their names. I could see the Sea of Reeds just ahead, but not my family. Everyone was lined up close to the shore.
Suddenly I heard a loud, sucking sound and watched the waters tower upward as a narrow opening appeared. I shook my head and blinked my eyes, not believing what I saw. In the distance I heard horses pounding. Someone yelled to hurry through the sea before the Egyptian soldiers reached us. I ran faster along the edge of the crowd. I had to find my family. People were screaming as they fled through the opening in the sea. Could it close on us? I wondered. I hurried to join the last of the people scurrying through. My knees were knocking and my heart was hammering when I stopped to rest.
Although it was nearly dark inside the watery passage, I could smell something fragrant. Then a beam of moonlight revealed apple and pomegranate trees along
both sides of the watery walls.
Angels were perched in some of the trees, singing in celebration of our freedom. If only I could share this beautiful moment with my family. Just then a multi-colored fish zoomed by. Was I imagining the words I heard?
“Are you lost, young boy? Just follow me. I will lead you through the deep, dark sea.”
I followed the sparkling fish, who led me past more flowering fruit trees. When I finally reached the shore, the fish sang,
“Great is your trust and reward will be, as you travel now with family.”
Just ahead I saw my parents and I hurried to join them. My father swooped me up in his arms and held me tightly. My mother and sister joined hands and danced around me. Above flashed bolts of lightning.
The singing stopped.
My father told me later that God commanded the angels to stop singing in praise of our escape because the Egyptians who followed us had drowned in the sea. He said that we should never rejoice in the suffering of others, because even though God helped us escape, God cares for all life – even our enemies.
I gave thanks to God for helping me find my family. Whatever happened next would be fine. We were together and free.
(The flowering, fragrant trees with angels comes from Midrash, http://www.aish.com/tp/b/lp/48942336.html)