I had really planned to highlight an older niggun related to Parshas Beshalach – something maybe from the 60s, 70s or 80s – that would further magnify the significance of Shabbos Shira. However, in light of recent events, I ended up choosing a more recent song, as I felt that its words contained the chizuk that I so desperately needed to hear.
In the beginning of our parsha, we find Klal Yisroel on the brink of redemption. Golus Mitzrayim was finally coming to its glorious conclusion. We had reached the banks of the Red Sea – our salvation was straight ahead! But it wasn’t all sababa. In front of us lay the watery expanse. To either side, a desolate desert with wild, howling animals. Behind us marched the mighty Egyptian army, swiftly approaching, ready to battle it out. And as if that weren’t enough, above their army hovered their heavenly angel, the Sar Shel Mitzrayim!
⏸️ Let’s press pause here, if we may, and try to relate to this scenario in our own small way. Quite often in life, we are confronted by numerous challenges and many trying situations. And sometimes, especially when these Heaven-sent events are meant to shake us, and wake us from our collective stupor, they may even prompt us to think the unthinkable, and to question Hashem’s absolute goodness.
We may brazenly ask, מַה זֹּאת עָשִׂיתָ לָּנוּ – Hashem, what are You doing to us (Shemos 14:11)? We used to be more comfortable! This new circumstance seems to be too much for us to handle! This new challenge appears just too much to bear! At such times, we have a momentary lapse in emunah, forgetting that Hashem is The Tov U’Meitiv – wholly good, who ONLY bestows loving-kindness – and that this is true even during those instances that appear most foreboding.
▶️ So, there we stood, surrounded on all sides with nowhere to go. Our backs were to the proverbial wall… was THIS how it was going to end?
Well, what happened next contains one of the most critical lessons for every Yid, for all time.
The Midrash in Shir HaShirim relates that by the time the last of us had reached dry land and had turned around to see the entire Egyptian armed forces swallowed up and tossed around by the crashing, collapsing waves, the Bnei Yisroel actually pointed with their fingers and said (15:2),זֶה קֵלִי וְאַנְוֵהוּ אֱלֹקֵי אָבִי וַאֲרֹמְמֶנְהוּ. As the Belzer Rebbe, Rav Ahrele Belzer zt”l put it: the wondrous miracles by the Yam Suf were so powerful and vivid, that Hashem’s existence was readily apparent to any spectator – so much so, that Hashem’s Shechinah could be pointed at with a finger.
Remember, the Torah is not a storybook! Yetzias Mitzrayim & Krias Yam Suf teach us that the darkness and confusion that one may experience in his lifetime is purely a harbinger of a coming salvation. Furthermore, we learn from here that the bleaker the situation, the greater the revelation – that the more limiting the perceived barrier seems to be, the clearer the awareness of Hashem and His immeasurable love will be when we look back on it from the other side.
It is for this reason that I have chosen today’s song. It’s not enough to read through the pesukim a couple of times a year. In order to constantly review these lessons of faith, a Yid sings Shiras HaYam at the start of every single day – reminding ourselves that we must retain our emunah no matter what that day may bring. Because after it was all said and done, וַיַּאֲמִינוּ בַּה’ וּבְמֹשֶׁה עַבְדּוֹ – and that’s the way it was always meant to be.
Zeh was composed by Yossi Green, and is the title track of the 2015 album released by the incredibly talented singer, Yoely Greenfeld.
💰 For Bonus Points (pun intended), can you name another composition by today’s songsmith in which creative lyrical license was taken when referring to Moshe? Email email@example.com with your answer by Tuesday night for a chance to win a $15 Gift Card to Mostly Music.
Wishing everyone a happy and delightful Shabbos Shira!