Parshat Beshalach January 28, 2010
“And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left” Dry land, as opposed to the ocean, is a place where one’s eyes are open to the exposed world. This is called Alma D’Galia – the revealed world. Holding up to view all that is here on land, the valleys, mountains, earth, rocks and vegetation- all of this also exists under the sea. One that lives on his property and landholdings is likely to think “he has it made in the shade”. There is so much “out there” to be had- there is not even a reason to think about what we don’t know. Life at sea is a different story. It is a concealed underworld where what you see is not necessarily what you get. This is known as Alma D’Casia – the hidden world. Under the waves it is cloudy and obscure, mysterious. Under wrap, what lives under the sea lies in wait to be discovered like an embryo, alive and kicking. There’s a lot we don’t know about this place. We anticipate the blessed event of a birth and finally the day comes when the waters break and a new life, unique to anyone else is born. As the Bnei Yisrael shout out in their labor pains, “For it had been better that we die”, their mouths were opened first in fits of pain, then in prayer, then in song. Parshat Beshalach focuses on the merging of the two worlds of Alma D’Galia and Alma D’Casia as the womb of time gave birth to new spiritual dimensions REVEALED at the splitting of the sea at Shirat Hayam. Land and sea come together in a miraculous event. As the children of Israel rejoice in their new status of blue blooded sons of the King, they praise Hashem, ” Who is like thee, O Lord!”. The musical instruments used there were made and hidden by the righteous women of Israel who never gave up hope of a final redemption and awaited the day to sing and play on their drums and harps. What differentiates prayer from song? When we pray, we entreat ” Please G-d, do this for me! I am lacking…. I need….” Much of our divine service is spent supplicating on behalf of Am Yisrael (please Hashem collect the remnant of your people from the four corners of the earth), the Land of Israel (please rain your abundance on Your Land. Please bring REAL PEACE- and not a phony lie- to Israel), for the widows and orphans, for the righteous gentiles, for the world at large, for the sick and needy. In the delivery room a lot of praying is done. Shira on the other hand, comes from a place of feeling satisfied and fulfilled. It is a prayer of thanks. This is a much higher level of service. This is why we celebrate the 7th day of Pesach. It is a sacred day of praise. We ask, where is Hashem? On the land, on the sea, in the sky? Our Rabbis answer ” The whole world is filled with His glory”. Hashem is exactly where we let him in, He prefers we do it with song and dance.
Shabbat Shalom, Leah Goldsmith