Monday, January 6, 2014

Shirat ha Yam – The Song of the Sea.

by Joe Indomenico.

this coming Shabbat, Parashat b’Shalach will be read in the Synagogues. For those who cannot attend or have never seen the Sefer Torah of this portion, I would like to share with you the very unusual pattern of how these verses are written on the scroll. This has always intrigued me.

The Torah states that when Am Yisrael entered the sea, it became dry land with waters as a wall חֹמָה to their right and to their left.(Exodus 14 v29). To commemorate this miracle, the Hebrew text of the ” Shirat haYam -Song of the Sea” is stylized to resemble a ‘wavy wall.” with the words written in alternating blocks to suggest a wave of water.
According to Yalchut Me’am Lo’ez , the alternating “bricks” are intended to resemble waves of water, while the blank spaces separating these (ie: text blocks) suggest ‘blank spaces in our knowledge and praise of HaShem” which we are encouraged to add to the “building.”
The Sages count exactly 198 words in this song, which is the numerical value for the word tzchok צְחֹק  a word that means “laughter” and is the word used to describe Sarah’s response when she finally gave birth to Yitzchak. According to Rabbi Bachya, the laughter in Yitzchak’s name comes from Avraham’s joy. The joy of Yitzchak’s birth, then, is linked with the “birth” of the nation of Israel at the time of the Exodus as Yitzchak’s symbolic death during the Akedah – The Binding represents Israel’s rebirth.

                                                        Of Lyrics and Music.


Leah said...


Anonymous said...

Baruch HaShem!!!

No Fear!!! AMEN!!!

dodi55 said...

B"H. Thank you, Joe. That is so wonderful!. So many things came to mind as I read, esp with the birth of my new granddaughter! With the center column being the people of Israel walking through and it's in the midst of water - The water "broke" and they are coming through the channel (canal) to be born as a new people! The wavy "walls" are also like the waves of contractions. When you mentioned the blank spaces, for some reason to my yet pretty uneducated mind, my heart says that the spaces are the goyim/gerim!! And there has sadly been spaces/emptiness in our knowledge and teaching re: the Torah of the Ger and in our present learning we are filling those spaces with meaning. And finally, as we bind ourselves to Israel through our commitment to HaShem, His Torah, His people, we will all serve HaShem in joy as we help bring the final Redemption. May it be soon and in our day. Thanks again, Joe. Kol tuv

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