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    Miracles & encounters – B’shallach

    There are two songs associated with this Shabbat – the Song of the Red Sea in the Torah reading and the Song of Deborah in the Haftarah. They are both dramatic examples of Hebrew poetry.

    The Song of the Sea in particular has a firm place in Jewish emotion. But there is a solid theological reason for its importance.

    It tells us two main things: Miracles can happen, and history is the product of encounters between cultures and peoples.

    Let us look at each idea separately. The first is that miracles can happen. They seem logically impossible, but – as Maimonides says in the Guide to the Perplexed 3:24 – they prove that the impossible is also possible.

    The second theme is that history is the cumulative result of encounters with other cultures and peoples. Dubnow says, “The history of the Jewish people is like an axis crossing the history of mankind from one of its poles to the other”.

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