וַיַּרְא יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת־הַיָּד הַגְּדֹלָה אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה ה' בְּמִצְרַיִם וַיִּירְאוּ הָעָם אֶת־ה' וַיַּאֲמִינוּ בַּה' וּבְמֹשֶׁה עַבְדּוֹ׃ אָז יָשִׁיר־מֹשֶׁה וּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת־הַשִּׁירָה הַזֹּאת...
And Israel saw the great hand which the Lord had used upon the Egyptians, and the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in Moses, His servant. Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord...
Immediately after the events in this week's parsha, the Jewish people sang the renowned and illustrious song called
. What is it about these events which led to this sudden outburst of song and celebration? What happened now, rather than previously, which caused Bnei Yisrael to sing so spontaneously?
There is a progression of events listed in the pasuk which holds the secret to the answer.
וַיַּרְא יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת הַיָּד הַגְּדֹלָה אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה ה' בְּמִצְרַיִם
First Bnei Yisrael saw the great hand of G-d. They witnessed the greatest and most wondrous of miracles to date - the splitting of the Reed Sea.
וַיִּירְאוּ הָעָם אֶת ה'
When they perceived the magnitude of G-d's power, they feared Him. The Ohr HaChayim explains that this was not a fear of punishment or retribution. Rather, it was a fear born of being in awe of the overwhelming power that Hashem possesses, and the realization of one's own weakness. Because of these miracles, the Jewish people became aware of G-d's ultimate control of the world, His involvement in humanity, and His deep love for the Jewish people. They then feared G-d's tremendous strength and their own dependence on His mercy.
וַיַּאֲמִינוּ בּה' וּבְמשֶׁה עַבְדּוֹ
The definition of belief is when one comes to the realization that G-d directs all aspects of the world and is involved in each person's individual destiny. It is the logical outcome of being in awe of G-d's power. Therefore, it follows that after they were in awe, they then had an unadulterated belief in G-d.
A natural consequence of such deep belief is singing G-d's praises for all events which transpire in our lives. Once we recognize that everything that occurs is part of G-d's plan, we can't do anything but sing and thank Hashem for the experience. This is what happened to Bnei Yisrael at the Yam Suf. They spontaneously sang the praises of G-d as a natural reaction to the profound belief which took root in their hearts.