Tidbits of Torah

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Shabbat Shirah

Insight, Inspiration, Imagination!

January 27, 2018 – 11 Shevat 5778

Dear Friends,
This Shabbat is called “Shabbat Shirah” [Sabbath of Song] because we read Moses and Miriam’s Song of the Sea as part of our weekly Torah portion. Insight, inspiration and imagination are at the heart of the Song of the Sea. And, through the repetition of this special Song – insight, inspiration and imagination have been communicated to our people, generation after generation.
Many Jewish people make a point of coming to services on Shabbat Shirah, in the morning, just to hear the special chanting of the Song of the Sea. And, our Sages included the recitation of the Song of the Sea in all of our (unabbreviated) morning services!
Going back to the origins of the Song of the Sea, Moses and Miriam, our leaders in ancient times knew that as human beings, when we experience a miracle, we are not always immediately aware of the awesome nature of what we have just experienced. We need to process the experience.
In today’s world, “journaling” is often suggested as a way of processing our experiences. Moses and Miriam’s Song of the Sea may be understood as an ancient form of “journaling.” How so?
Moses and Miriam paused after the crossing of the Red Sea. They paused to process the moment. And, they paused and processed, each of them in their own unique way, to allow our people to pause and to process the moment, as well.
Moses reacted to the miracle of the safe passage of our people through the Red Sea by reciting a poem/song of gratitude, along with the people of Israel. Moses’ response was cerebral and verbal. Miriam took up the timbrel and led the women in song and dance. In doing so, Miriam reminded us that we can deepen our response to significant events by incorporating the gift of dance, along with the gift of song.
Last Friday night, our Sisterhood presented a Friday night Yoga Service. Motion and song blended together to create a powerful energy in our services. Many thanks to Sarah Barnett and Judie Kavit for crafting that special service and for leading us in a new and powerful experience.
This Friday night, we return to our usual Friday night service. Nevertheless, each Friday night, as we gather together to celebrate Shabbat, we are invited to take time to process the experiences of our lives, often particularly in the six days of the week that precede Shabbat. At services, we are invited to process our experiences – miraculous, ordinary, and extraordinary as these may have been.

Even as we return to our usual Friday night service, may we be guided by insight, inspiration and imagination. May the insights we gain from Torah and from life, join with the inspiration we receive from God and from others, to fuel our imagination of a joyful, fulfilling and meaningful future.
Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Gilah Dror