Boker tov, dear friends,
This week we are walking through the seas – with all the rain we have been having, perhaps also, unfortunately, wet basements. B’Shallach is a particularly gorgeous parashah visually when we come to the Song of the Seas –
We can see the brick-like layout of the song, or waves of the sea. The song is sung in a very unique manner as well, as the verses are divided with about half song in the trop (melody line) dedicated to this song only and the other half sung in regular Torah trop. It is an opportunity for the Torah reader to apply vice-grips to their brain as they apply each trop system to the correct verses! Traditionally this Shabbat is called Shabbat Shira, the Shabbat of Songs – we are singing ourselves into our freedom.
But a journey into freedom implies that we were once not free, and we know that first step towards freedom can also bring all manner of conflicting emotions forward. The Israelites, even as they have crossed over the sea, are afraid. They are tired. They are worried.
In B’Shallach we also read these words, “They (the Israelites) said to Moses, “Were there no graves in Egypt that you took us to die in the Wilderness? How will Moses respond to these concerns?
So much of Torah, and so much of who we are as Jews, is about learning to build trust. We are builders of systems to take care of each other, to build greater love and respect and regard for others into this precious world. This past Sunday, Aaron Devor spoke to about 40 people who attended his lecture on Jewish Law and Transgender Jews. 40 people came to learn about how to apply greater learning and respect for all Jews, including those who are transgender and non-binary. The human endeavour is an endeavour of change; all of us moving, hopefully, towards discovering and then fully becoming our true selves. We all have seas to cross – we may feel very frightened along the way, but if we can come together in community and sing together, perhaps some of those fears can be allayed.