13 Shevat 5779 – Beshalach

How can we restore ourselves during times of immense pressure and stress?

When G-d created the universe, He consulted the angels: “Should I bestow upon the human race the gift of music?” The elitist angels unanimously replied with a resounding “no.” “The human race will not appreciate the sublime power of melody. They will abuse and commercialise it. They won’t know how to appreciate the angelic, divine nature of song.

“Give us your gift of music,” the angels said, “and we will sing Your praises. We will know how to use the power of melody to reach great spiritual heights.”

G-d considered their opinion, but then overruled them. “No. I will give the gift of music to humans. Because I want them to have something to remember Me with.

I think that there is a powerful idea contained within this passage. Sometimes the daily pressures of life can be exhausting and overwhelming. There is just so much to do and so little time. Yet within these moments, there is something we can do to pause and connect with our divine essence and our divine source above. We can sing. We can hum a beautiful Jewish prayer or melody and feel the stirring effect that it can have on our souls.

There is a difference between speech and song. You can be moved and inspired through words. You can be restored and refreshed through a stirring song.

This Shabbat we will be singing from the Torah the song the Jews sang at the very moment that they were freed from Egyptian bondage after crossing the Red Sea. Up until that point, their bodies had been physically freed. After singing this song, their spirits were freed as well.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Yossi and Chana Raizel Friedman