Parashat Beshalach

This week’s Parasha, Parashat Beshalach, contains a scene that many of us are familiar with from the 1956 film, “The Ten Commandments.” The splitting of the Sea of Reeds is ingrained in our collective Jewish memory. The Midrash in Exodus Rabbah 11:6 asks: Why does the Torah state that the waters “were” divided rather than the water “was divided”? The Midrash explains that this comes to teach that waters in wells and fountains across the world became divided at the very moment of the splitting of the sea so as to showcase God’s miracle to the entire world.

This week’s Parasha also contains Shirat HaYam, “the Song of the Sea,” a poetic recounting of the splitting of the sea (sans Charlton Heston). Shirat HaYam was incorporated into the Jewish liturgy as part of Pesukei D’Zimrah, which is the introductory part of our service that contains blessings sandwiching biblical verses. Shirat Hayam is our daily reminder about God’s capacity to perform miracles at each and every moment. While we might not have the opportunity to see something tantamount to the splitting of the sea in our lifetime, let our recitation of the Song of the Sea serve as a reminder for us to marvel at the miracles we encounter in our own lives.

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