Rachael’s Thoughts on Shabbat Shirah

This Shabbat is Shabbat Shirah – the Shabbat of Song, and it’s filled with beautiful moments.  We have come safely through the Red Sea, the Egyptian army has perished, we take our first breath as a free nation, and we burst into song.  It’s a beautiful expression of joy, having just experienced the desperation of standing between the enemy and the sea –cornered.  We could have chosen to blame God for pushing us to the brink of desperation before ultimately saving us, but instead we choose a song of joy.

The midrash focuses on why the verb for singing is mentioned in the future tense.  “Then Moses and Israel will sing (az yashir)”, it is more accurate to relate it in the past or present tense as something that is happening at that moment.  But we are told that the song we choose to sing in the beginning will be the song we choose to sing throughout.  When I start my day, am I choosing to have a good day?  It is a choice I make before anything else happens, and it is the approach I will bring to everyone and everything throughout my day.  

Ultimately, the Sages tell us that this song of joy, the individual song we all compose in our hearts, will be the song we sing when creation is fulfilled.  At that time, every person who ever lived will be granted a final breath, and will then choose how to use it.  The future tense “will sing” is telling us to choose a personal song of joy and gratitude and attach it to our identities.  It is the expression that will first present itself to us when our thoughts form into words.  It is the song we will always choose to sing.

Life brings challenges to us; it is the nature of the created world.  Responding to those challenges with the unique songs we hold inside is how we shape the moment, the day, and ultimately, the world around us.

I’d like to wish everyone a sweet and peaceful Shabbat –our Jewish time to regroup, rest, and reinvigorate.

Shabbat shalom,


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