The Real Story Of Moses and the Red Sea

William “Billy” Weiss is my grandfather who is 85 years old and was born in Hungary, but moved to New Your as an infant. His parents and other family members were Jewish and practiced their faith and traditions very seriously. He was raised in a Jewish section of the Bronx in which most of his friends and neighbors were Jewish as well. Synagogues were close by and a lot of the schooling was run by Jewish faculty. Therefore; a lot of his upbringing revolved around his Jewish heritage. He worked as a peanut salesman at Yankee Stadium in his adolescence, and later moved to Los Angeles were he became a very successful manager in the fashion industry in the 70’s and 80’s. His hobbies include gambling at the racetrack and spending time with his family whenever possible. He does not practice his Jewish religion often but expects to be buried in a Jewish cemetery with a traditional ceremony. My immediate family is Catholic, so he has learned that faith as well over the years and celebrates those holidays too.

Biblical Text Reads:
“1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pi–hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baal–zephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea.
For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in.
And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord. And they did so.
And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?
And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him:
And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them.
And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand.
But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pi–hahiroth, before Baal–zephon.
10 And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord.
11 And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?
12 Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.
13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.
14 The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.
15 And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:
16 But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.
17 And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.
18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.
19 And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:
20 And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.
21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
23 And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.
24 And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,
25 And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fighteth for them against the Egyptians.
26 And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.
27 And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.
28 And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.” (Exodus 14: 1-28).
Annotation: This Biblical Translation of the story comes from

William delineated, “Moses did not actually part the Sea. A more realistic view of the story, and what is believed to have actually happened has to do with the tides of the day. It is said that when Moses and the Israelites got to the Sea, the tide was low and allowed them to cross, and when the Pharaoh got to the Sea and tried to cross, the tide was rapidly changing and made it impossible to cross. Moses did not magically, with the power of God, move the waters and defy the laws of physics, but with faith and trust in God, leaving Egypt at that specific time was what saved them.”

My Grandfather learned this realistic translation of this Biblical story from belief of his Jewish relatives. This story is part of the Jewish Torah and the Christian Old Testament, and is one of the most popular texts in either of the religions. The story that is told by text and is meant to be an entertaining story, not necessarily historically accurate. Putting a more realistic view on the story allows for the point to get across just as well, but makes the important story in the religions history to be seen as historically true. My grandfather said that as a child, he was taught the original story that is written in the Torah, but as he got older and doubt naturally started to reside as it does for most, he was taught the new interpretation to keep his belief but in a more understandable way.

I think that this translation of the story is very interesting and important to both the Jewish and Christian religions, and those who simply have heard the Bible story. One may think that “changing” the story around so that it can be interpreted as realistic is wrong because it is changing the “word of God.” I disagree with this idea and think that a realistic interpretation allows for an even stronger faith and allows for the power of God to be seen differently.