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Wednesday, Shevat 10, 5782 / January 12, 2022


This Shabbat is called "Shabbat Shira" - "Shabbat of Song." This week's Parsha, Beshalach,describes the splitting of the Sea and the "Shira," the song which Moshe and the people of Israel sang praising G-d for this great miracle, that they just witnessed.


The Torah describes this miraculous episode as, "The Children of Israel walked on dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall on their right and their left.  And Israel saw the great hand which the L-rd brought upon the Egyptians, and the people feared the L-rd; and they believed in the L-rd and in Moshe His servant.  Then Moshe and the children of Israel sang this song to the L-rd..."


Each morning, we recite the Shira, as part of our morning prayers, to remind us thatevery day is a miracle, like the miracle of the splitting of the sea and worthy of G-d's praise.  


The Torah makes special mention of the women singing, dancing, and playing their tambourines in praise of G-d.


Q.  Where did the women get the tambourines after crossing the sea?


A.  According to our sages, the women were more confident than the men, that G-d would perform miracles for the Jewish people and lead them out of Egypt.  While still in Egypt, they made tambourines to eventually help them celebrate the Exodus. They used these tambourines to accompany them as they sang their praises to G-d after crossing the sea.


Today, the 10th of Shevat, is the Yartzeit of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson, sixth Rebbe of Lubavitch, of blessed memory and the day when the seventh Rebbe accepted the mantle of leadership. He told the following episode about his grandmother, whose Yartzeit is also today:


"When my grandmother was 18 years old she became very sick.  The doctors ordered her that due to her health condition, she must eat each morning as soon as she wakes up.   My grandmother did not want to eat before reciting her morning prayers.  Therefore, she decided to rise very early, recite her prayers, and later eat. The lack of sleep which she missed because of this arrangement didn't help her health situation.


"When her father-in-law, my great grandfather, found out about this, he said to her: "A Jew must be healthy and strong in order to serve G-d.  Concerning the observance of the mitzvot, the Torah uses the expression: 'Live in them' which means one should bring life and vitality into the performance of mitzvot.  In order to perform mitzvot with vitality, one must be healthy, strong and joyful." He instructed her to listen to the doctors and eat first and pray afterwards. Then he said to her: "It is preferable to eat in order to pray, rather than pray for the purpose of eating!"