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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash


Updated: Jan 12, 2022

Parshat Be'Shalach is the Exodus. It is the crossing of the Sea and safely landing on the other side. It is about a moment of faith, a moment of an unforgettable crossing. It is etched into all of our psyches and we are reminded of it each day when we pray.

This Parsha is also a moment of unparalleled celebration and with celebration comes music.

On a personal note, music and movement for me is the deepest source of my own spirituality. I confess here, that my language is not sufficient to describe the transcendent power of music that reaches me to my core. I cannot adequately paint the picture of the power of music in our lives. I can only try to provide you with the barest whisper of the great power music holds.

עָזִּ֤י וְזִמְרָת֙ יָ֔הּ וַֽיְהִי־לִ֖י לִֽישׁוּעָ֑ה {ס}

Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD. They said:

I will sing to the LORD, for He has triumphed gloriously;


Words crowd our lives.

There are times for dialogue,

debate, conversation.

And there is a time for silence,

a time to clear our soul of sounds,

to hear, to savor the empty.

And then,

there is a time for music;

for song and dance.

Music, the fragrant balm of sorrows,

the inspiration of joy and celebration.

Words fail to describe the power of music,

the letters of the alphabet have not the

complexity to describe the range of expression.

Music is the trill of a sparrow in May.

An owl’s rumbling hoot echoing in the woods.

A whale's bleat to its partner

through the rhythm of the waves.

A pack of wolves braying at the moon.

Music is the deep beat of drums

the sound of heartbeats magnified.



The drumbeat echoes in your chest

and propels

your hands, your feet,

your closed eyes, your hips

from a place deeper than words.



To move in rhythm to the beat

is to move you toward unmeasured time,

toward destinations unmapped.

Music is a point of agreement,

above politics.

Music is universal.

It is the universe.

At the heart of music is

the unbounded

exhilaration of being alive.

Our pulse quickens,

our breath deepens.

We are present.

We are alive!

Music is the source,

It is like counting the stars in the sky;

it is flying without leaving the floor,

the possibilities are endless.

Music needs no words,

no excuses or explanations;

only spirit and rhythm.

A stick and a pot.

A taut string and a hand.

A blade of grass and two lips.

A voice to sing.

Hands to clap and feet to tap.

But, music can be subtle,

a suggestion.

The slight movement of a brow,

the snap of a finger,

the closed eyes of wonder,

the gentle sway of a torso.

Music is an extra soul we are given,

lit from the lights of the endless sky,

a Neshama Y'etayra,

a gift to be cherished and never squandered.

It is the everlasting spark

given by the Kadosh Baruch Hu.

To create, to mourn to celebrate

through movement and song.

*** ** ***

A selection of music for this post:

Vastitude by Peter Kater.

וַתִּקַּח֩ מִרְיָ֨ם הַנְּבִיאָ֜ה אֲח֧וֹת אַהֲרֹ֛ן אֶת־הַתֹּ֖ף בְּיָדָ֑הּ וַתֵּצֶ֤אןָ כׇֽל־הַנָּשִׁים֙ אַחֲרֶ֔יהָ בְּתֻפִּ֖ים וּבִמְחֹלֹֽת׃ Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her in dance with timbrels.

Translations taken from Sefaria.

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