Divrei Hayamim I – Two: Nahshon

List time once again! We get a breakdown of the children of Jacob, and those of Judah, and Judah’s twin sons via Tamar. Then we have some less familiar names – Ethan, Carmi, and others that I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard of, or that at least are totally unfamiliar. Then Nachshon comes into the picture, and we go back to familiarity with the genealogy of David. The chapter goes on with more unfamiliar names, but I’m going to stick with Nahshon for this week’s reflection. We don’t get much detail. “And Ram begot Amminadab, and Amminadab begot Nahshon, the prince of the children of Judah (Chronicles I 2:10).” The stories of Nahshon that I know come mainly from midrash, not from the actual text itself, and it’s those stories we talked about just a few weeks ago at the seder. The most famous Nahshon story comes from the crossing of the Red Sea during the Exodus from Egypt. The story goes that everyone had gathered by the water, and the Egyptians were coming, but nothing was happening and everyone was freaking out. The sea looked dangerous, the enemy was literally at their backs, and no one knew what to do. So Nahshon, at that point a nameless figure within the text, simply started walking forward, and it was only then that the waters split. We use this example in Jewish education fairly regularly when we talk about leadership, about doing what needs to be done, and about taking the first step when things seem impossible. So in this unfamiliar book full of names, it’s nice to see one that I recognize – and admire! – pop up.

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