Friday, February 7, 2020 /12 Shevat, 5780
Parashat Beshalach Exodus 13:17−17:16
Each Sunday morning, as I lead t’fillah with our Pre-K – 2nd graders, we approach the Mi Chamocha with the same introduction (the bold words are screamed out by the little ones): So…the children of Israel are trying to get away from a mean guy named Pharaoh. And they’re trying to get out of the land of Egypt, until they come to a big puddle in their way called the Sea of Reeds. So they ask, ‘however will we get across,’ and Moses says, ‘however will we get across’, and God says, ‘stick your staff in the water.’ So Moses sticks his staff in the water and the water goes (slurping sound with hands parting the sea) and when Pharaoh and his armies are coming after them, the water goes (slurping sound with hands closing the sea), and Miriam and the women start to sing and Moses and the men join in WHICH SONG? Mi Chamocha!!!
The children love it, but more importantly, when we get to this week of Shabbat Shira, when we read the Song of the Sea, they realize that they know exactly what happens in the Torah. It’s so exciting, and Rabbi and I look forward to sharing it with you tonight, at our Shabbat Shira service.
What happens at the end of this Torah portion particularly resonates with me, as I continue to recover from last weekend’s celebrations. At the end of the portion Amalek attacks the Israelites after they have escaped death at the Sea of Reeds and Moses sends Joshua with an army to defend them. As they battle, Moses holds aloft his staff. When his staff is up, the Israelite army is defeating Amalek, but when the staff is lowered, they begin to lose. Moses grows tired, so Aaron and Hur come and hold up his hands, until Amalek is defeated. What does this have to do with us?
In our lives, there are times when we grow weary and need the support of others to keep us succeeding at our work. Rabbi and I are no different. Throughout my 25 yearsְ, I often have been described as having endless energy, but that’s just not always true. I could not keep the smile on my face and help run the many programs and services of TBE without you, our amazing community, often holding up my arms and supporting my work. I find myself spending each and every day, filled with gratitude that I headed the call 25 years ago.
Just as Moses tried to deny that he could do the job God asked at the burning bush, I too was unsure if this was the right work for me. In the end, it is obvious that this is entirely the work I was meant to do in life. Not because of particular practices, but because of this community, which I have been blessed to serve and has continuously supported my efforts. Some days, the Rabbi and I are your Aaron and Hur, supporting you, but never underestimate the number of days when you are OUR support in the our chosen work for this community. You are all Aaron and Hur at many points in our work for Temple Beth El, and for that support we are always grateful.
May we continue to be the support for each other and take Temple Beth El from strength to strength, crossing many seas to new tomorrows, together.
Guest Parashat by Cantor Ilan Davidson