Torah Tidbits


You Are Needed!
Shabbat Parashat B’Shallach
Shabbat Shirah
January 11, 2014 – 10 Shevat 5774

You Are Needed!

What an amazing Parasha!  The story in this week’s Torah protion of B’Shallach encompasses the Exodus from Egypt, the crossing of the Red Sea, and the phenomenal poetry of what has come to be known as “The Song of the Sea.”

Sung by Moses, Miriam, and the children of Israel, and subsequently included in our morning liturgy, “The Song of the Sea” expresses a most intimate, yet intense, experience of God’s presence in our lives.

But, how often do we actually experience such a momentous spiritual peak?

Our tradition, wisely, brings us together in communal prayer, requiring a minyan [quorum of ten Jewish adults], in order for us to fully experience our prayers.  This ensures that we are not alone in our spiritual quest.  We are part of a community of seekers.

Although we may experience the presence of God more intensely on our own, or as we commune with nature, rather than in the company of others, Judaism reminds us that it is not only our own individual spiritual quest that is important.  It is also our participation in a kehilla kedosha, a holy community, which gives depth to our spiritual lives.

In truth, it is precisely because not everyone has intense experiences of God’s presence at every prayer service, that coming together as a community comprised of many individuals lends added holiness to our spiritual quest. Perhaps that is why Moses uses language of praise of God that is communal, as well as individual, in “The Song of the Sea.”

By acknowledging our interconnectedness and our common spiritual yearning, we take the first step toward creating holy community.

The message of “The Song of the Sea” is that we are all important.  We are all needed!

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror