I heard from one of my rebbeim that the inifinite God has an infinite amount of ways of performing any given task. With that in mind, it is interesting to note that twice in the Tanach, God splits the sea: once when the Children of Israel leave Egypt and once when they enter the Land of Israel. (The second instance wasn't a sea, but the Jordan River, but I'm sure you understand what I'm saying.) Why did God choose to perform this particular miracle twice?

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    Don't have a source offhand, but recall hearing somewhere that the two events were specifically intended to slightly mirror each other, to show to Bnei Yisrael that Moshe and Yehoshua were both qualified and selected by Hashem to lead Bnei Yisrael. Jun 18, 2018 at 14:54
  • @Salmononius2 I recall that as well. But even if a meforash doesn't mention this, that's a great chiddush nonetheless.
    – ezra
    Jun 18, 2018 at 16:23
  • And for Dasan and Aviram acc to some
    – sam
    Jun 18, 2018 at 16:51
  • The first occurrence seems pretty obvious. B'nai Yisra'el was trapped with the Egyptians coming straight at them and their only escape route was the sea. How els could they have travelled? As for Joshua, I understood that, in general, Hashem wanted to demonstrate as much as possible that Joshua was like Moshe and there were many similarities, which included the splitting of waters. Also, here, what other way was there for getting to the other side, unless he wanted everyone to swim.
    – DanF
    Jun 18, 2018 at 17:34
  • I don't think I understand the premise. According to it, God also has an infinite number of ways to split a sea, and it looks like he implemented one in each of the instances you bring up. Conversely, people have abilities to do multiple things in multiple ways. ברוך השם. Could the question not equally be asked about any instance of anybody doing the same one twice?
    – WAF
    Jun 18, 2018 at 17:38

2 Answers 2


Avot Derav Nattan 33:2 implies that splitting the sea was one of the demands that B'nai Yisra'el asked of Moshe when they were at the sea.

Moshe repeatedly said to them - "Arise and cross". Each time , they demanded some condition for crossing. One of them was that the sea should be divided into multiple parts.

It seems, then, that God was responding to their demands.


Both times it happened after Bney Yisroel circumcised - first in Egypt before the Exodus and the second before entering the Holy Land (the didn't circumcise in the wilderness).

Passing thru the split sea symbolized immersing in Mikve, which is the second part of converting to Judaism for the whole nation. This represents (Kabbalicly) a rebirth or starting a new life.

Source - כתבי אריז"ל cited in בית גנזי על התורה by R' Rafoel Moshe Luria Z"L

  • Where in Kisvei Arizal?
    – DonielF
    Jul 16, 2018 at 0:01
  • @DonielF It is cited in בית גנזי על התורה פ' בשלח.
    – Al Berko
    Jul 16, 2018 at 12:45
  • Once again, could you please edit that into your post - or, better yet, if you could track down a link to that, could you please edit that in as well?
    – DonielF
    Jul 16, 2018 at 13:28
  • but they didnt get wet. how did that work?
    – ray
    Jul 16, 2018 at 20:53
  • @ray they didn't drown either B"H :) All those are metaphorical explanations, meaning one does not have to perform the act exactly, only to hint "as if it was that". They didn't need a conversion and it was all symbolic (this is what Kabbalah is about).
    – Al Berko
    Jul 17, 2018 at 13:45

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