Thursday, January 17, 2008


Jewish tradition has ordained that the Sabbath on which the episode of the splitting of the Red Sea ( the Sea of Reeds, according to modern scholars) is read in the synagogue be known as the Sabbath of Song. In the aftermath of this extraordinary event of deliverance, Moses and the children of Israel sing a song to the Lord:"I will sing to the Lord for He has triumphed gloriously."(Exodus 14:1)
What makes this song so essential to the spiritual experience of the Jew is that it occupies a place of great importance as a prototype of all experiences of deliverance and the ensuing religious response of gratefulness that is expressed through songs of praise and thanksgiving.
The Midrash understands this beautifully when it associates the event of the Parting of the Red Sea with the ordinary human experience of being rescued from the pitfalls of everyday living. The Midrash quotes the Psalms: "He lifted me out of the miry pit...and placed a new song in my mouth , a hymn to our God."(40:3-4.) Everyday represents moments of miraculous deliverance; our very survival at the end of each day is reason enough to sing a new song of praise. Furthermore, each Shabbat emerges as a Sabbath of Song. Do we not recite during the Psalm for the Sabbath day the following declaration? "It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing Your praise ,exalted God."Sabbath is the most opportune time during which to recognize the unique process of life , its canopy of compassion, that protects us and shields us from the harm and danger that inhere in so much of our existence. And so we sing each Shabbat transforming
the day from being like any other day into a day of gratefulness and utter contentment.

"The whole world lives within a safeguarding, fish
Inside waves, birds held in the sky, the elephant,
The wolf, the lion as he hunts, the dragon, the ant,
The waiting snake, even the ground, the air,
The water, every spark floating up from the fire,
All subsist, exist, and are held in the divine. Nothing
Is ever alone for a single moment.

All giving comes from There, No matter who
You think you put your open hand out
Toward, it’s That which gives. -Rumi

Shabbat Shalom.

No comments: