This Shabbat is commonly referred to as Shabbat Shira, or Shabbat of Singing. In parsha Beshalach, the Israelites break into song after safely crossing the Sea of Reeds and escaping Pharaoh's army. They express their love and gratitude to God by singing,
"Who is like You, O Lord, among the celestials;
Who is like You, majestic in holiness,
Awesome in splendor, working wonders!
You put out Your right hand,
The earth swallowed them.
In Your love You lead the people You redeemed;
In Your strength You guide them to Your holy abode."
Many say this is when the Jewish people are born. At this moment, the escaped slaves become a people united by a profound, shared, holy experience. In this moment, of relief, exhaustion, and awe, they sing. Led by Miriam, the women take up timbrels dance.
Children love to sing and dance and bang on percussion instruments. Too often, we ask them to "quiet down." Instead of quieting down this Shabbat, sing extra loud. Maybe even add a little dance to your dinnertime routine. Tell your children about Miriam and the Israelites. In doing so, you're connecting your children and yourselves to our ancestors, their joy, and a defining moment in Jewish history.
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