Although G-d parted the Red Sea, our tradition teaches us that Nachshon Ben Amminadav had to dive into the water before the sea parted.
So what does this have to do with Har HaBayit? Everything of course. When you go to Har HaBayit on a monthly basis, it's never really convenient. And at times it even seems impossible to go. You're sick. Your spouse is sick. Or your kids, or your driver or even your car/horse. So you reschedule, and reschedule and reschedule and suddenly there are only a few days left before the end of the month.
And so it was this month. After rescheduling twice, we finally set a date two days before Rosh Hodesh. On the big day, I woke up at 5:30 am, went to the mikveh with my son Yishai, and then to synagogue at 6.
At 6:10, my son nervously informed me that our driver hadn't yet arrived at shul. I wasn't panicked. But minutes passed and I sent out my first of several SMS messages. No luck. Finally, I called him... and there was no answer. Then I started to worry.
Finally he called... with bad news. He had fever and had to cancel. Oy.
"Sure I can take the bus," I lied. I was actually not sure whether we could make it there before 10 am, when the Temple Mount is closed to non-Muslims.
"I guess there is always next month," I said to myself. "I tried. I did honestly try. I got up early and even went to the mikveh. My 'hishtadloot' is done."
Or was it? While I thought it was, my son felt otherwise: "Abba, you've been going each month for such a long time. I can't remember when you last missed a visit. Can't we take the bus? You promised me that I could go with you this month."
If truth be told, I really wanted to make this visit too. I'd been out of work for 3 months and had been fervently requesting His assistance in finding a new job. And now, just one day after I had signed a new employment contract, was I really not going to Har HaBayit to thank Him?
And then I thought of Nachshon. He probably felt the same way when he first got his feet wet: "I tried. I really did. My feet are wet and my sandals are nearly ruined. I'll try again next month." But did Nachshon really say that... did he really give up so easily?
Nachshon didn't and neither did we. We raced home and set out for the bus stop by foot. Hopefully we'd make the next bus. Hopefully the bus wouldn't be full and would actually stop. Hopefully there wouldn't be any traffic jams.
No sooner than we had arrived at the bus stop, a car stopped to offer us a ride to the Holy City. We were on our way.