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    Singing with Moses at our side – B’shallach

    According to the classical rabbis, there are ten great songs. One of the greatest is Shirat HaYam, the Song of the Sea, which we sing this Shabbat.

    Singing has been intrinsic to Judaism from time immemorial.

    Sometimes it was impossible not to sing, as the human heart pulsated with the ecstasy of being alive and the feeling of what a wonderful world God has given us.

    Sometimes we sang through our tears: no tragedy or tyrant could shatter our faith that life was still good and there would yet be things to celebrate.

    No wonder the sages remarked that there were halls in heaven that opened only to the sound of song.

    No wonder too that Jewish song-making has always been part of Jewish worship, which was never satisfied to read, recite or even declaim the prayer service but built up a tradition of nussach, standard melodies for every season of the year.

    No wonder Israel Zangwill says that the Jewish year was like a musical box.

    No wonder that the commentators – amongst all their range of interpretations of the future tense in the opening words of Shirat HaYam – said that Az Yashir Moshe, Moses will always be at our side to sing the praise of the Creator.

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