TORAH READING FOR 13 SHEVAT 5783 Feb 3-4, 2023
Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, picked up a hand-drum, and all the women went out after her in dance with hand-drums. And Miriam chanted for them:
Sing to the Eternal, for God has triumphed gloriously;
Horse and driver God has hurled into the sea.
TALMUD MEGILLAH 10b
A famous Midrash (or commentary) in the Talmud says that as the Egyptians started to drown in the Sea of Reeds, the angels began to sing praises, but God silenced them, saying, “the work of My hands are drowning at sea, and you wish to sing songs?”
PARSHA – Shabbat Shirah
From Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/bshalach
B’shalach (בְּשַׁלַּח — Hebrew for “Now When [Pharaoh] Let [the People] Go”) – Exodus 13:17-17:16
Now when Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although it was nearer; for God said, “The people may have a change of heart when they see war, and return to Egypt.” – Exodus 13:17
- The Children of Israel escape across the Sea of Reeds from Pharaoh and his army, who drown when God drives back the sea. (13:17-14:31)
- Moses and the Israelites sing a song praising Adonai. (15:1-21)
- In the wilderness, God provides the grumbling Israelites with quails and manna. God instructs the Israelites to gather and prepare on the sixth day food needed for Shabbat. (15:22-16:36)
- The people complain about the lack of water. Moses hits a rock with his rod and brings forth water. (17:1-7)
- Israel defeats Amalek, Israel’s eternal enemy. God vows to blot out the memory of Amalek from the world. (17:8-16)
From Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beshalach
- For Ashkenazi Jews: Judges 4:4–5:31 (the longest of the year)
- For Sephardi Jews: Judges 5:1–31
Connection to the Parashah
Both the parashah and the haftarah contain songs that celebrate the victory of God’s people, the parashah in the “Song of the Sea” about God’s deliverance of the Israelites from Pharaoh, and the haftarah in the “Song of Deborah” about the Israelites’ victory over the Canaanite general Sisera. Both report how the leaders of Israel’s enemies assembled hundreds of chariots,… how God “threw . . . into panic” (va-yaham) Israel’s enemies,… waters sweeping away Israel’s enemies,… singing by women to celebrate, [in] the parashah by Miriam, and [in] the haftarah by Deborah;… Finally, both mention Amalek.
The Gemara[, the component of the Talmud comprising rabbinical analysis of and commentary on the Mishnah,] tied together God’s actions in the parashah and the haftarah. To reassure Israelites concerned that their enemies still lived, God had the Reed Sea spit out the dead Egyptians. To repay the seas, God committed the Kishon River to deliver one-and-a-half times as many bodies. To pay the debt, when Sisera came to attack the Israelites, God had the Kishon wash the Canaanites away. The Gemara calculated one-and-a-half times as many bodies from the numbers of chariots reported in Exodus 14:7 and Judges 4:13.
From Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/bshalach
By: Jonathan K. Crane
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH and REFLECTION
For Torah Study, instead of the portion from the Book of Exodus that is read on this Shabbat, we will read the Haftarah (a selection from the prophets) from Judges 4:4-5:31, focusing on Judges 5:1-31, containing the Song of Deborah. You can read this week’s Torah Portion at https://www.sefaria.org/Exodus.13.17-17.16 and the Haftarah we will be studying at https://www.sefaria.org/Judges.4.4-5.31
From “The Torah / A Women’s Commentary” edited by Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D.
בשלח B’shalach – Exodus 13:17-17:16
Post-biblical Interpretations – by Claudia Setzer, pp. 400-401
Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song (15:1). The Rabbis noted that the word shirah (song) appears ten times in the Hebrew Scriptures. The Song at the Sea (Exodus 15) is the second instance. According to M’chilta, an early commentary on Exodus, nine of these songs were sung in the past, but the tenth is for the “Age to Come.” This passage also reports that “for all the songs referring to previous events the noun used (shirah) is the feminine” (Shirta 1). In a revelatory exposition of rabbinic sexual politics, the sages explained that “even as a female gives birth, so the achievements of the past were followed by subjugation.” That is, just as a woman who emerges from a successful labor is still subject to the authority of her husband, so Israel, despite small victories, has consistently been subjugated to foreign conquest. However, in the case of the future song, predicted in “Sing unto יהוה a new song” (Isaiah 42:10), the masculine noun shir is used. This indicates “that just as no male gives birth, so the triumph which is yet to come will not be succeeded by subjugation” (M’chilta, Shirta 1).
Then Miriam the prophet (15:20). Miriam is called “the prophet” in this verse, although she never prophesies in the Bible. The M’chilta says she predicted the birth of Moses to her father, who praised her when Moses was born–but then blamed her when they were forced to expose him in the basket (Shirta 10; also BT Sotah 12a–13a, referring to Exodus 2:1–3).
and all the women went out after her in dance with hand-drums (15:20). The Rabbis speculated as to where the women obtained the musical instruments they played when they danced at the sea. Like a mother who remembers to pack all the necessities for a family trip, the women’s confidence that God would deliver them made them bring these instruments along; “But where did the Israelites get hand-drums and flutes in the wilderness? It was simply that the righteous were confident and knew that God would perform miracles and mighty deeds when they left Egypt, so they prepared hand-drums and flutes” (M’chilta, Shirta 10). Although the M’chilta calls the righteous tzaddikim (masculine plural), the medieval commentator Rashi, in his remarks on this verse, made a point of calling them tzadkaniot (feminine plural), referring to the women.
And Miriam chanted for them (15:21). Interpreters visualized two choral groups at the sea chanting the same song, both led by prophets: the men by Moses, the women by Miriam. Just as Moses recited the Song among the men, so it was Miriam who recited among the women: “Sing to יהוה for He has triumphed gloriously” (M’chilta, Shirta 10).
In rabbinic literature, Miriam and Moses often appear in parallel, with Miriam given an equal status to Moses. In a midrash in the 13th-century-C.E. Midrash HaGadol, Joseph explains two dreams of Pharaoh in which the number three appears. According to Joseph’s interpretation, the double appearance of this number refers to the three patriarchs and to the three leaders who would redeem the people from Egypt: Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. Furthermore, the miraculous well of Miriam, which accompanied the people of Israel through the wilderness and sustained them because of Miriam’s righteousness (BT Taanit 9a; B’midbar Rabbah 1.2), was among the ten miraculous entities created by God during the twilight on the eve of the first Sabbath (Mishnah Avot 5:6). This well complements the manna, which was given to the people because of Moses’ righteousness. The Talmud (BT Taanit 9a, among many other sources) explains as follows: “Rabbi Yose the son of Rabbi Judah says, ‘Three good leaders had arisen for Israel–namely, Moses, Aaron, and Miriam–and for their sake three good things were given: the well, the clouds of glory, and the manna. The first was given for the merits of Miriam, the second for those of Aaron, and the third for those of Moses.’” The well disappeared at Miriam’s death, but one tradition says a vessel of water from Miriam’s well is one of three concealed objects that Elijah will restore in the messianic age, along with vessels of manna and of sacred oil (M’chilta, Vayassa 6).
TU B’SHEVAT COMMUNITY SEDER – this Sunday, February 5, 2023 6:30 PM – online
Tu B’Shevat, “New Year of the Trees,” begins the evening of February 5, 2023. As in the last two years, we will celebrate Tu B’Shevat online with a simplified Seder. Please see the recent emails sent with the instructions and meeting information. NOTE: this requires a distinct meeting ID, passcode and link from the regular Friday evening Torah Study-Shazoom.
From “Mishkan T’filah / A Reform Siddur”:
FOR OUR COUNTRY p.516
THUS SAYS ADONAI, This is what I desire: to unlock the fetters of wickedness, and untie the cords of lawlessness; to let the oppressed go free, to break off every yoke. Share your bread with the hungry, and take the wretched poor into your home. When you see the naked, give clothing, and do not ignore your own kin.
O GUARDIAN of life and liberty, may our nation always merit Your protection. Teach us to give thanks for what we have by sharing it with those who are in need. Keep our eyes open to the wonders of creation, and alert to the care of the earth. May we never be lazy in the work of peace; may we honor those who have [served, suffered or] died in defense of our ideals. Grant our leaders wisdom and forbearance. May they govern with justice and compassion. Help us all to appreciate one another, and to respect the many ways that we may serve You. May our homes be safe from affliction and strife, and our country be sound in body and spirit. Amen.
We recite MI SHEBËRACH for the victims of abuse, brutality, conflicts, fear, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds especially directed at individuals and specific communities including us, and war; for all those at home alone or lonely; for all those in need of physical, emotional, and mental healing. “R’fuah sh’lëmah” – a complete recovery!
We say KADDISH YATOM for those of our friends and families who have died and been buried this last week; those in the period of Sh’loshim (30 days since burial); those who have died in the last year; and those whose Yahrzeits/Anyos occur at this time; as well as the victims of brutality, conflict, disease, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds, and war.
This coming week, 13 Shevat through 19 Shevat, we lovingly remember:
TKH Memorial Board, Father of Dr. Sam Caron, Temple President
Those victims of the Sho’ah (Holocaust) who died at this time of year.
“ZICHRONAM LIV’RACHAH” – MAY THEIR MEMORIES BE FOR BLESSING.
TORAH STUDY AND SHAZOOM
We will meet as usual at the regular times for Torah Study and Shazoom this evening, Friday, February 3, 2023. For the next few months we will read and discuss the Haftarah, each selection from the prophets following the weekly Torah Portion.
Zoom regularly updates its security and performance features. Making sure you have the latest version of Zoom, please join us online this evening with wine/grape juice for Kiddush and Challah for Motzi.
Topic: Torah Study – Haftarah B’shalach: Judges 5:1-31
Time: Feb 3, 2023 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: Feb 3, 2023 07:30 PM Arizona
To join Torah Study and/or Shazoom click on the following link [you may need to copy it into your browser]: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/72510500854?pwd=Z3VQZWF4U1BBZytNYmh3aHFTWkFDZz09
Meeting ID: 725 1050 0854
Hint: The last character of the password is the number zero.
Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat/Gut Shabbos
PS – About the Book of Judges:
From Jewish Encyclopedia
Timelines from Wikipedia