Tuesday, April 19, 2022

What? Nachshon Again?

Braving the Swimming PoolAs Abq Jew mentioned just a couple of years ago (see Swimming With Nachshon), we Jews remember the bravery of Nachshon ben Aminadav as we observe the Seventh Day of Passover.

On the Seventh Day of Passover - the anniversary of the day when this glorious event happened - we again read the story of the Crossing of the Red Sea and the ensuing celebrations.

Nachshon ben Aminadav     David Brook

While everyone who has seen The Ten Commandments knows that Moses and his staff (including The Holy One, Blessed Be He) parted the waters of the Red Sea - we Jews also remember Nachshon, who was the first to step in when the Egyptians were chasing us.

And Nachshon didn't just stick a toe in. He continued walking until the water was up to his neck. Then and only then did the Red Sea part, allowing us Children of Israel to cross on dry land.

Nachshon Afraid Swim

No swimming required.

Nevertheless, Abq Jew is convinced that Nachshon knew how to swim. Why? First of all - because it says in the Talmud (Kiddushin 29a) that 
Our Rabbis taught: A father has the following obligations towards his son: to circumcise him, to redeem him, if he is a firstborn, to teach him Torah, to find him a wife, and to teach him a craft or a trade. And there are some who say that he must also teach him how to swim.
Yes, the Mishna (200 CE) and the Gemara (500 CE) were not codified until ... um ... a few centuries after the Exodus (13th Century BCE). 

But let's not let that inconvenient historical fact stop us! For, as Maimonides wrote in his Mishneh Torah (1180 CE):
Although the Oral Torah was not written, Moshe Rabbenu taught all of it in his court to the seventy elders... To Joshua, his servant, Moses transmitted the Oral Torah and instructed him on it....
And second of all - because Just In Case

The Swimming Song
for the Seventh Day of Passover

This summer I swam in the ocean,
And I swam in a swimming pool
Salt my wounds, chlorined my eyes
I'm a self destructive fool
I'm a self destructive fool

This summer I did the back stroke
And you know that that's not all
I did the breast stroke and the butterfly
And the old Australian crawl
The old Australian crawl

This summer I swam in a public place
And a reservoir to boot
At the latter I was informal
At the former I wore my suit
I wore my swimming suit, yeah

This summer I did swan dives
And jack knives for you all
And once when you weren't looking
I did a cannonball
Did a cannonball

This summer I went swimming
This summer I might have drowned
But I held my breath and I kicked my feet
And I moved my arms around
Moved my arms around

The Swimming Song is here performed by the Canadian yet so wonderful Kate & Anna McGarrigle, from their first album. The song was written by Kate's (z"l) then-husband, Loudon Wainwright III.

Yes, that's the same guy who Abq Jew is sure that you, his loyal readers, remember from his 2012 blog post Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road

Yes, Loudon Wainwright III wrote that classic song, too. You can view it here.

But let's make the timeline Pesachdik once again with these Yom Tov wishes from the Israel Philharmonic!

Hag Sameach, Albuquerque!
Good Yontif, New Mexico!

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