web analytics
November 27, 2014 / 5 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Shabbos: A Day With Hashem – A Shabbos of Shira

Niehaus-011014

I once related to a friend that one of the reasons we named our daughter Shira was because she was born on “Shabbos Shira.” He jokingly replied: “Boy is she lucky that she wasn’t born on Parshas Parah!”

All joking aside, this Shabbos is unique in that that it is the only parsha named after an event in the weekly sedra. Why is that so? Furthermore, if we are already naming it after an event, wouldn’t it make more sense to call it “Shabbos Krias Yam Suf” after the main attraction of the parsha – the spectacular splitting of the sea?

First let us explain what shira is. Rav Shimshon Pinkus zt”l writes (She’arim B’Tefila, page 65) that shira is when we relate praises in a detailed manner, as opposed to zimra, where we praise in a more general way. This fits well with the words of Maharal that shira is based on the word shir, which is a circular item (see Mishnayos Shabbos 5:1). Shira occurs when we see something come to completion. At that point, all the pieces fit into place and the beginning connects with the end. When a person sees how all his questions are answered and what had appeared to be bad was really good, he becomes filled with joy. This motivates him to say shira and relate the different components of the miracle or kindness.

 

Shira Makes the World Go Round

But shira is not just something nice that happens from time to time. Chazal tell us (Medrash Osiyos d’Rebbe Akiva) that the world was created to say shira. Indeed, the famed Perek Shira relates how every aspect of the entire universe says shira on a daily basis.  Rav Pinkus points out that saying shira is actually what makes “the world go round!” When Yehoshua wanted to halt the sun’s movement so that he could destroy the enemy before darkness settled, he called out (Yehoshua 10:12): “Shemesh b’Givon dom,” which literally means “Sun in Givon: Wait!” However, Rashi writes that “dom” can also be translated as “be silent!” That is, as the sun travels across the sky, it says shira. In order to stop it in its tracks, Yehoshua commanded it to be silent. Once it stopped saying shira, it couldn’t budge! Shira is the fuel of the Universe! Now we must understand why saying shira is so important.

Rav Yechezkel Levenstein zt”l, the Mashgiach of Ponevitch, would say that anyone who does not know the Ramban at the end of Parshas Bo is lacking the basics of Yiddishkeit. There, the Ramban clearly sets down the reason for the mitzvos and the elementary tenets of our faith. He writes: “…the Supreme G-d has no other desire in this lowly world other than that man should be aware of his Almighty that created him and thank Him. This is also the reason for davening out loud and for gathering together to daven in shul – so that there should be a place for people to thank their Creator and make this known and proclaim: We are Your creations!”  And then the Ramban continues that it must be absolutely clear that there is no such thing as “that’s the way things go in the world.” Rather, everything that happens in the world is because it is what Hashem has decreed, based on our actions.

Our job in this world is to discover our Creator and make that known to the world, as Yeshaya (43:21) tells us. “Am zu yatzarti Li, tehilasi yesapeirun – I fashioned this people for Myself, that they should declare My praise!” Klal Yisroel was created so that we should relate Hashem’s greatness and praise Him constantly. Now we understand the importance of shira. When we say shira, we are proclaiming that we see, without any shadow of a doubt, that Hashem is not only the Creator, but is also still running with the world. Nothing in the world happens against His will, and He is constantly orchestrating everything to bring about our redemption. This is how we fulfill our purpose in this world.

The Happy Ending

Let us now return to Krias Yam Suf. The midrash tells us (Shemos Rabba 23:4) that until Shiras HaYam no one had ever said shira. Of course, Avrohom, Yitzchok, and Yaakov praised Hashem, but not though shira. That may be because they had not seen the completion of the circle. They had no doubt that Hashem would redeem Klal Yisroel from Mitzrayim and punish the Egyptians, but until it actually happened, shira could not be said. With Krias Yam Suf the story came to a happy ending (for Klal Yisroel, that is), and our redemption was complete. When the sea flung out the dead Egyptians, the Yidden saw how each one had gotten the exact punishment he deserved. At the same time, they had received great reward. They experienced extreme pleasure during the actual crossing, and became fabulously wealthy from the spoils strewn on the shore. But most of all, they merited an extremely high level of prophecy, where even a simple maid saw more than what the Navi Yechezkel had seen in his great vision of Hashem’s Holy Chariot. With this great revelation they saw clearly how all the pieces fit into place and spontaneously recited Shiras HaYam.

Let us return to Shabbos Shira. When Klal Yisroel said shira, they accomplished the purpose of their creation, and that requires commemoration. When is the best time to do that? The seforim tell us that when we read the Parshas Hashavua, those events occur again in some way. Therefore, on this Shabbos, it is as if Klal Yisroel is once again saying the shira. In addition, we explained previously (see “Singing with the Angels”November 15, 2013) that Shabbos is the day when Klal Yisroel says shira instead of the angels. Meaning, Shabbos is a day when we must dedicate ourselves in a greater manner to saying shira.

Now everything is clear. The Shabbos when we read Parshas Beshalach has both aspects – our saying Shiras Hayam once again, together with the fact that it is the day we dedicate ourselves even more so to saying shira. Therefore we can suggest that this day is the most fitting one to commemorate shira.

However, on Shabbos Shira we do not merely celebrate that great accomplishment. Rather, we also receive the ability to continue doing so. By dedicating this Shabbos to shira, we come to realize the importance of saying shira, and hopefully learn to say it on a daily basis.  Dovid HaMelech proclaimed (Tehillim 104:33): “Ashira l’Hashem b’chayai – I will say shira to Hashem when I am alive!” Even if we don’t always see the complete picture as our ancestors saw during Krias Yam Suf, we will find plenty of things to thank Hashem for, if we just open our eyes.

The Mishneh B’rurah writes (O.C. 51:17): “A person should say Shiras HaYam with joy and act as if he passed through the split sea today. And he who says it with joy will merit to atonement from his sins!” Let us start by saying Az Yashir this Shabbos with joy and continue to do so every day, thus meriting that great atonement!

 

This article is dedicated to our daughter Shira, who was born eight years ago on Shabbos Shira. It is our tefillah that she merits to continue growing in yiras shomayim and midos tovos, and bring us true yiddishe nachas.

About the Author: Rabbi Eliezer M. Niehaus, raised and educated in Los Angeles and subsequently Yeshivas Toras Moshe in Yerushalayim, is the Rosh Kollel of the Zichron Aron Yaakov Kollel in Kiryat Sefer , Israel. He lectures for the public and is the director of the Chasdei Rivka Free Loan Gemach. He can be reached at kollel.zay@gmail.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

3 Responses to “Shabbos: A Day With Hashem – A Shabbos of Shira

  1. James Johnston Ferguson says:

    shalom "

  2. If nearly all things sing "shira", nature really is a sanctuary (maybe my uncle was right when he skipped church to go fishing). I'm still a little confused though. Is it both a praise to the Creator for making the circle and keeping it as well as praise for the epiphany of the completion of a circle? I really should get a copy of "Hebrew and Torah for Dummies."

  3. Gary Harper says:

    Everything is a circle. People look at where they are on the circle. The trick is to be able to see the whole circle. Then it does not matter where you are on it, as the beginning is the end. If you travel of a Mobius strip, you see only one side of it. But you go from beginning to end, and see all of it, only a piece at a time. You need to reflect on all of it. Cut it down the middle lengthwise as many times as you want, make as many strips as you want, part it as many times as you want, it is still the same strip. It is like that. It is infinity, and is infinite. The entire creation glorifies God; man just does not see it entirely.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Captain Or Cohen
IDF Selects First Female Commander of Navy Ship
Latest Judaism Stories
Dante's Vision of Rachel and Leah

Yitzhak called you Esav and you answered him, then he called you Yaakov and you also answered him!”

Rabbi Avi Weiss

Yitzchak thought the Jewish people needed dual leadership: Eisav the physical; Yaakov the spiritual

Weiss-112114-Sufganiot

According to the Sefer Yetzirah, the nature of the month of Kislev is sleep.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

Though braggarts come across as conceited, their boasting often reflects a low sense of self-regard

Not every child can live up to our hopes or expectations, but every child is loved by Hashem.

Leaders must always pay attention to the importance of timing.

While our leaders have been shepherds, the vast majority of the Children of Israel were farmers.

Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165

If a man dies childless, the Torah commands the deceased’s brother to marry his brother’s widow in a ceremony known as yibum, or to perform a special form of divorce ceremony with her known as chalitzah.

Dovid turned to the other people sitting at his table. “I’m revoking my hefker of the Chumash,” he announced. “I want to keep it.”

Ever Vigilant
‘When Unworthy, One’s Number Of Years Is Reduced’
(Yevamos 50a)

Question: My young daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. She does not function well socially and is extremely introverted, but we have noticed that she reacts very well to small animals. We reported this to her therapist who suggested that we get a dog or cat as a pet. We know that most religious people frown upon having pets, but we hate to see our daughter suffer and want to do anything that would make her happy. Would it be okay to own a pet in the circumstances we described?

Her Loving Parents
(Via E-Mail)

Ramban interprets Korban as self-sacrifice, each Jew should attempt to recreate Akeidas Yitzchak.

Dr. Schwartz had no other alternatives up his sleeve. He suggested my mother go home and think about what she wanted to do.

Why does Lavan’s speaking before his father show that he was wicked? Disrespectful, yes. Rude, certainly. But a rasha?

More Articles from Rabbi Eliezer M. Niehaus
Niehaus-110714

The Sefer Charedim writes that during the tefillah of Mincha on Shabbos, all the tefillos of Klal Yisroel are accepted!

Neihaus-100314

During shmittah we refrain from agricultural activities and collection of loans, and on Yom Kippur we refrain from all physical pleasures.

Not only do we accept You as our King, it is our greatest desire that the name of Your Kingdom be spread throughout the entire universe.

When a child needs encouragement whom can he turn to?

Is the fact that we can spend time with our families just a fringe benefit of Shabbos or an integral aspect?

Now that she has entered her husband’s domain, they become extremely close.

The more we are aware of Hashem’s involvement in our lives, the more we will act accordingly.

When Hashem took us out of Mitzrayim, we received not only a physical freedom but also a spiritual one.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/shabbos-a-day-with-hashem-a-shabbos-of-shira/2014/01/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: