Music is a powerful force in my life. It has been the glue that has kept me together. I sang as a child. I taught myself guitar. I played piano. I trained in opera. I led singing in youth group and camp. I sang in choirs and competed in singing competitions. I was even a voice major when I started college. Music has carried my spirituality and I built my relationship with God on a foundation of harmonies and melodies that have expanded to the intellectual and mystical.
This Shabbat is known as Shabbat Shirah, the Sabbath of Song. At the focal point is Moses’ triumphant poem, the Shirat Hayam-the Song of the Sea. Found in Exodus 15 in Parshat Beshalach. Moses in verse recalls the parting of the Red Sea, the waves crashing around the Egyptians (Horse and rider God has thrown into the sea), and the power and glory of God (Who is like You among the gods that are worshipped?)
The victory poem has its own unique melody and meter and layout in the Torah. Graphically it looks like two walls of water and the crossing that takes place in the middle. And at the end of the poem we learn that Miriam, Moses’ sister, led the women dancing and playing timbrels as they sang this song of celebration.
This Shabbat we are reminded of this power of music and the gifts of singing and dancing. We are reminded that they are an integral part of Jewish spirituality and transformation. They certainly have been huge parts of my spirituality and my transformations. This Shabbat sing and dance and celebrate freely!!!!