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    Crossing the Red Sea

    Depiction of the crossing of the Yam Suf, from the Sarajevo Haggadah

    Majestic poetry is found in the Song of the Sea, read on 7th day Pesach.

    In his Meditations on the Torah, BS Jacobson observes:

    • The opening verse, “Then sang Moses and the Children of Israel” (Ex. 15:1) means, according to Abravanel, that Moses composed and sang the song, and Israel responded after each stanza, “I will sing to the Lord, for He is greatly glorified: horse and its rider has He hurled into the sea”.

    • David Hoffmann explains that the song has two parts: the first a song of triumph, praising God who defeated His enemies; the second, acclaiming the King who bestows His land upon His people.

    • Using a Biblical stylistic device, the song utilises a phrase in one clause and repeats and extends it in the second, e.g. The Lord – a man of war; the Lord – His name. Your right hand, Lord, glorious in power; Your right hand. Lord, dashes in pieces the enemy. Who is like You, Lord, among the mighty? Who is like You, glorified in holiness? Till Your people pass over, Lord; till the people pass over that You have created.

    • On the verse, “The horse and its rider has He hurled into the sea”, SD Luzzatto remarks, “Poetry prefers the singular over the plural, since the listener can project himself easier into the lot of one subject than groping for empathy with several; ‘Judge the orphan, plead for the widow’ (Isa. 1:17) is sharper in focus than ‘Judge orphans, plead for widows’.”

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