Updated: Jan 31
Everyone knows that what you see on the surface does not always tell you the full story. The surface is a good place to start, and it definitely gives you an outline of what you’re dealing with, but the deeper we dig the more we reveal.
While it is true that you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, if you’re the one being impressed, it’s always a good idea to avoid rushing to judgment and instead wait until you uncover more.
Jumping to conclusions based on initial information can be tempting, because it subconsciously allows us to make a decision on the spot and move on. Going by what you see on the surface is easier, since analysis takes time and effort. You can go through life lazily by only viewing the world on its surface, or you can endeavor to always look beyond what you see initially. And that’s where the true gratification and reward lies.
This pertains to interpersonal relationships—getting to know a person better will lead to an enhanced relationship, far better than just by encountering them in passing. And it also applies to our pursuit of knowledge, especially Torah knowledge. As much as you think you’ve learned and uncovered, there is always more and there are always further layers to explore. The more curious you are and the thirstier you are for knowledge, the more you will discover.
This concept is alluded to in the story of the splitting of the sea. Water bodies such as oceans and seas by nature conceal everything within it. When looking at the surface, all you see is water. But once you “split” the sea and remove the outer layers, you will discover an amazing world of marine life, equal to or even greater than what exists on dry land. But you would never know that by simply gazing at the water’s surface.
As the Jews were leaving Egypt and heading towards the desert to receive the Torah, G-d introduced them to this crucial aspect. Sure, you can read the text of Torah and take it at face value; you can even read the Talmud, Kabbalah, and Jewish law, and still only see the words. But Torah study means a lot more than that.
Torah is how we connect with G-d’s infinite wisdom, and that can only be achieved by allowing our curiosity to lead us down the deepest burrows, so to speak, of Torah and divine wisdom. The deeper we dig, the greater our connection with G-d becomes and the more desire we have to learn. And the more we learn, the deeper we want to dig.
Once they were released from Egyptian bondage, G-d reminded our ancestors that although they may now be tempted to take the easy route to freedom, for them to truly appreciate Torah and in fact the world around them, the sea must be split. Don’t settle for your initial understanding, keep digging and asking questions. Be curious about everything and you will discover a whole new world.