The Temple Institute: Temple Talk: Shvat 8, 5766/ February 8, 2006

The Song of the Sea

Perched on the banks of the Sea of Reeds: are we marching toward our future or fleeing from our past? Eretz Yisrael lies before us and the armies of Pharaoh loom behind us: this is where the children of Israel found themselves in this week's Torah reading, Beshallach, (Exodus 13:17), and this is where the Children of Israel find themselves today: are we here in the land of Israel to build a better future, one which includes the Holy Temple and the word of G-d which goes forth from Zion, or are we here cowering before those who wish to annihilate us? Today, as then, an intimidating future, (the 'impassible' sea), and a terrifying present, (a looming holocaust, G-d forbid), cause different reactions within the nation of Israel, some more rational, and some less. But only united can we march through the sea as on dry land, carrying upon our shoulders our destiny as a people: worshipping the One G-d, Master of Creation in His Holy Temple, here in the land of Israel.

Who were the erev rav - the mixed multitude, and how has their presence plagued the Jewish people throughout the millennia? The crowning moment of unity and determination - the Song of the Sea, in which unconditional and unreserved praise for HaShem was sounded from the throats of every man, woman, and child of the Israelite nation. The Song of the Sea - the song of our redemption, then and now. Preparing for Tu b'Shvat - the 15th of Shvat - the new year for trees; the day in which a tremor of rejuvenation moves all living things, trees and humans included. Learning the mystical seder of Tu b'Shvat.

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