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What's your song?

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

There's almost always a song that's playing in our heads. "Shabbat Shira," as this past Shabbat has been designated, draws attention to the songs that accompany our lives. The soundtrack we play can strengthen or weaken us, elevate us or bring us down.

This past Shabbat, as part of the Beshalach Torah portion, we read the "Song of the Sea." The children of Israel went out of Egypt, the sea split, and the Egyptian army drowned. Amidst these historic events, witnessed with their own eyes, the people burst out in an emotional song of thanks for what had just transpired, together with a prayer for the future. The song describes how the entire world was rattled by the Exodus from Egypt, and how the people were filled with newfound strength as they journeyed toward the Land of Israel. The words of this song were eternalized as part of Shacharit, our daily morning prayers.

Wherein lies the power of song? Speech is limited since it relies on the mind. Song is eternal since it comes from the soul.

Singing also brings us together. When someone is speaking, others need to keep quiet or there will just be noise and confusion. People must speak one at a time. But when there is singing,

many people can join harmoniously together, even while encouraging many more voices to join them.

Let's examine what happened at the Red Sea: The people took the facts (the sea split) and elevated them in song ("I will sing to the Lord!"). And so we see how song elevates both the individual and the entire nation, uniting them through a rousing common story.

So what song will accompany you today?


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