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Parashat B’Shallah – January 11, 2014

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Candle lighting time for Friday, January 10, 2014, 4:53 p.m.


 Parashat B’Shallah  

Shabbat Shirah

10 Shevat, 5774/January 11, 2014
Triennial Cycle Year I: Exodus 13:17-15:26
Humash Etz Hayim, page 399
Haftarah: Judges 4:4-5:31, page 423

  1.  (13:17-22) The beginning of the Exodus, and its route  through the desert. The pillar of cloud and the  pillar of fire.
  2.  (14:1-14) The Egyptians pursue the Israelites, to the shore of the Red Sea. The Israelites panic, and Moses reassures them.
  3.  (14:15-18) God tells Moses that Israel will cross the sea on dry land.
  4.  (14:19-25) The splitting of the Red Sea. The Israelites pass through safely. The Egyptians pursue them into the sea.
  5.  (14:26-31) The Red Sea’s waters close up again, and the Egyptians are drowned.
  6.  (15:1-21) The Song by the Sea, sung to God in praise and thanksgiving.
  7.  (15:22-26) The continuation of the journey. The incident of the bitter waters at Marah.


Awe-Struck Song
By Rabbi Daniel Pressman

Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord. (Ex. 15:1)

Consider the midrash: “Another explanation of Then sang Moses. It is written, She opens her mouth with wisdom; and the Torah of kindness is on her tongue (Prov. 31:26). From the day when God created the world until the Israelites stood at the sea, no one except Israel sang to God. He created Adam, yet he did not utter Song; He delivered Abraham from the fiery furnace and from the kings, and he did not utter Song; Isaac, also when saved from the knife, did not utter Song, nor did Jacob when he escaped alive from the angel, from Esau and from the men of Shechem. Yet, as soon as Israel came to the Sea, and it was divided for them, they uttered Song before God, as it says, Then Moses and the Israelites sang. This is the meaning of She opens her mouth with wisdom. God said: ‘I have been waiting for these. Further, the word az (then) signifies joy, for it says, Then (az) was our mouth filled with laughter (Ps. 126:2). (Midrash Exodus Rabbah 23:4)

We focus on the elements: “She opens her mouth with wisdom” and “Further, the word az (then) signifies joy, for it says, ‘Then (az) was our mouth filled with laughter’ (Ps. 126:2).” How can we reconcile the claim that at the moment she opens her mouth that it is with wisdom? Is it not true that wisdom can only be discerned once the statement is concluded, after the argument has been proved and tested? But, the midrash attempts to resolve this by arguing that joy is wisdom, and that this relates to Song, which is joy, as well (as “az signifies joy”). If it is the case that joy is song, then in the very moment that she opens her mouth to offer Song, it is immediately recognized as wisdom.

Understand the midrash as follows. Awe [yir·ah] is the gate to the Lord by which the righteous enter (Ps. 118:20). Now, even as the key element of divine service is love, awe is nevertheless the gateway to love; from awe we come to love. So, when we witness and understand from all the worlds and all their creatures the greatness of the Creator we experience an exalted awe, the awe that arises from awareness of God’s greatness. But, after that we come to understand the creation of all existence and that it is sustained in life, realizing that all came into being for the sake of Israel. From that people drawn near, God derives delight and pleasure. Realizing this, we sense ourselves to be like a child before our heavenly Parent. That awareness arouses love, and this is called “hidden wisdom.”

…This is how we should understand the midrash: “Then sang Moses. It is written, She opens her mouth with wisdom” — that Israel shifted from awe to great love and so were able to offer Song before God is called “hidden wisdom.” “From the day when God created the world until the Israelites stood at the sea, no one except Israel sang to God” because they had attained the degree of awe. But, when Israel came to the sea and saw the miracles and wonders that were performed for them they came to the level of great love, to sing before God. That is what it means to say she opens her mouth with wisdom. God said: “I have been waiting for these” to attain this degree. (Kol Simḥah, Rabbi Simḥah Bunim of Peshischah, Poland, 1765–1827)

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Due to a component failure, our building sound system (including the loop system) will not be operational this Shabbat. We will be using a small portable system for amplification. Please bear with us. The component has been ordered and the system will be repaired.


Saturday, January 11: Youth Congregation – 10:30 a.m.

Saturday, January 11: Haverim – 11:00 a.m.

Saturday, January 11: Tot Shabbat – 11:15 a.m.

Friday, January 17: PJ Shabbat – 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, January 18: Sisterhood Shabbat – 9:30 a.m.


Hadashot Religious School

Mitzvah a Month

Balk Family Memorial Camp Scholarship

CBD Board of Directors Vacancy

Mishloah Manot Fundraiser

Items Needed for Sisterhood Silent Auction

Minyan – Sunday 9:30 am & Monday – Thursday 7:00 p.m.


Saturday, January 11: Book Discussion Group – 1:30 p.m.

Sunday, January 12: Sunday Seminar – 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Wednesday, January 15: CBD Winter Blood Drive – 3:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Thursdays beginning January 16: Adult B’nai Mitzvah Class – 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Saturday, January 18: Sisterhood Shabbat – 9:30 a.m.

Saturday, January 18: Communal Tu B’Shevat Seders – after services

Saturday, January 18: Mussar Matters – after lunch about 1:30 p.m.

Sunday, January 19: Tikkun Olameinu – CBD Repairs the World – 9:30 a.m

Sunday, January 19: Poverty Simulation – 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Sunday, January 19: Upsherin (the cutting of hair) for Eli Ohriner – 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

Friday, January 24: Cantorial Shabbat and Hazak Shabbat & Dinner – 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, January 25: Shabbat Schmooze: Russian-Israelis in Our Jewish Community with Rabbi Ilana Baird – after lunch (about 1:30 p.m.)

Friday, January 31: Hagigat Noar – Celebration of Youth – 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.

Tuesday, February 4: Musical Minyan – 7:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, February 16: Mah Jong Tournament – 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Tuesday, February 18: Engaging Israel: Foundation for a New Relationship – 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.


Thursday, February 20: Out of Egypt: Our Long Relationship with the Land of the Pharaohs –  7:30 p.m.

Saturday, February 22: Two Characters, One Divine, One All Too Human: Asherah and Josephus – after Kiddush lunch (about 1:30 p.m.)

Saturday, February 22: Did God Have a Wife? – The Mystery of Asherah – 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, February 23: Flavius Josephus: Traitor or Hero? – 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.


Saturday January 11: Let’s Dance – Jewish Singles ages 40 – 70 – 7:00 – 10:00 p.m. Email to RSVP

Sunday, January 26: Jewbilee – 1:00 – 8:00 p.m.