Shabbat Parashat B’Shalach
January 31, 2015 – 11 Shevat 5775
As Jews, there are so many uplifting and inspiring values that we represent. There are also so many complex challenges that we face. In the midst of all of that, we may, at times, forget to sing a song of praise when things go well for us individually and as a people!
This Shabbat, in our Torah reading, we chant Moses and Miriam’s Song of the Sea. It is an amazing expression of a spontaneous outpouring of gratitude to God for the miracle of the successful Exodus from Egypt.
In the haftara, we read the Song of Deborah, the prophetess, and of Barak son of Avinoam, the Israelite general, as they sing praises to God for helping them to vanquish the enemies of the Israelites in the Promised Land.
We read in the Babylonian Talmud (Sanhedrin 94 a-b) that God considered the righteous King Chizkiyahu as a candidate to be the messiah. But, because Chizkiyahu was not spiritually able to lead the people in a song of praise to God even after they experienced a victory, ultimately, Chizkiyahu was not deemed worthy of the job! It seems that at least some of the rabbis of the Talmud imagined the messiah as a person who would know how to “Say it with a Song!”
For us today, even as we await the coming of the messiah, or of the messianic era, in a world that sets before us many opportunities to represent important values as well as many complex challenges, it is especially important for us to take a moment to recognize and to acknowledge God’s help when we feel God’s presence in our lives. Or, to put it another way, it is important for us, individually and as a community, to remember to take a break and to simply sing a song of praise to God when things do go well for us!
Rabbi Gilah Dror
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