This Shabbat, throughout the Jewish world, is known as Shabbat Shira, the Shabbat of Song. In Our Torah portion, as the Israelites march through the split sea, Miriam leads them in Shirat HaYam, the Song of the Sea. The song of the sea is beautiful and poetic; it has been incorporated into our daily prayer service every morning. It has been the subject of many different compositions and musical arrangements, and is very powerful.
It is no coincidence that the gmatriah (numerical equivalent) of Shirah, 515, is the same as for the Hebrew word Tefillah, which means prayer. Prayer and song are interconnected. The Song of the Sea in our parasha was not just something that the Israelites sang as they marched through the depths of the sea; it was a prayer from the depths of their hearts. For the Israelites, as they marched through the sea into the unknown, the Shirat HaYam served not only as their guide, a source of comfort and support, but also a source of inspiration and hope for the future, amidst the craziness going on around them.
As was the case for the Israelites as they marched through the desert, music and song can help us navigate some of the most difficult, challenging, and scary moments in our lives. Just like for the Israelites as they marched through the sea, may we all have the opportunity to be moved by music, as a source of comfort, consolation, inspiration, and prayer.
Wishing you all a Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Josh Dorsch