Monday, April 17, 2006

Quick Note on Shevi'i Shel Pesach

Shevi'i shel Pesach is most notably known from Krias Yam Suf - the splitting of the Red Sea. It is during this event that the Jews sang the first Shirah (song) that appears in the Torah (and presumably the first communal Shirah in Am Yisrael's history). This song was obviously a sign of gratitude towards Hashem. However, the Nesivos Shalom asks: were the Jews not blown away by the plague of blood, beasts, frogs, or any of the other plagues? These makkos (plagues) were clearly brought to help the Jewish people - why not sing Shirah then? It is only by the splitting of the sea that they first decide to sing. The Nesvios goes on to give his own (deep) answer, but I will give my own. As a disclaimer, this is entirely my thought, without scriptural basis - I more than likely developed the end message first, and then adapted my idea around it. That being said, I liked the thought so much it is worth blogging at 5:00a.m. Anyway...again: why no Shirah by the plagues?

My theory is that each individual plague was brought to help remove the Jews from the harsh slavery and persecution they faced on a daily basis by the Egyptians. G-d saw that we had done 400 years of work in only a 210 year period - and our stint of duty was up. Therefore, he brought the plagues only to end the persecution. However, Moshe Rabbeinu knew that the crossing of the sea was going to lead them not just away from Mitzrayim - but rather, towards Kabbalas haTorah (receiving of the Torah). This, I believe is why he led the nation is song only by the splitting of the sea. He was excited, not merely to be leaving Egypt, but to be going towards something greater, and he felt that a song of praise was in order.

There is such an emphasis on Pesach of freedom this and freedom that. We lean because we are free people and no longer under persecution. Some say that the 4 cups of wine have to be an alcoholic beverage, because, as free people we are allowed to drink alcohol, while slaves cannot. Freedom, Freedom, and more Freedom. That is the emphasis of the Sedarim and the first days of Pesach. What is Shevi'i shel Pesach and the Shirah coming to teach us? It teaches us that if we merely dwell on the fact that we are free, we have missed the boat. It isn't where we're coming from - it's where we're going. Sure we're free people now, but how are we going to use that freedom? Moshe was excited because he knew we were going to receive the Torah and that was the best way imaginable to use our freedom. Sure, G-d was the man for bringing the plagues upon the Egyptians; but Moshe wasn't sure how we were going to use our freedom - therefore, no Shirah. Let's not rest on our laurels; let's use the freedom that Hashem gave us at the splitting of the Red Sea (and here in America, too) and let's focus on using this freedom for something positive rather than just being happy that we have the freedom to begin with.

It's easy to talk the talk; but can you walk the walk?


Blogger Zazy said...


1:26 PM, April 17, 2006

Blogger Jack Davidov said...

I used to swear like sailor before I went to yeshiva. So, I stopped. Then I left yeshiva and I started again. Although this is not something that I am necessarily proud of, I thought that maybe it would help to let you know that you aren't the only one.

8:29 PM, April 25, 2006


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