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"I'd like to teach the world to sing"

by Benyamin Cohen    
Torah from Dixie Staff Writer    

Moving anywhere can be a hassle. You have to clean your house of all your belongings, pack them up on a moving truck, and head on out. Obviously, there is a lot more involved in the moving process. Anyone who has ever moved can tell you that. An entire book could be devoted to the subject.

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The Exodus From Egypt: 

Moving anywhere can be a hassle. You have to clean your house of all your belongings, pack them up on a moving truck, and head on out. Obviously, there is a lot more involved in the moving process. Anyone who has ever moved can tell you that. An entire book could be devoted to the subject.

It was shortly after midnight on the 15th of Nissan thousands of years ago. Every Egyptian firstborn, including the king's own son, has just died as a result of the final plague. Pharaoh, frustrated and defeated, saw the Jews from Egypt. Finally, after 210 years of back-breaking labor, the exile was over. Finally, after ten horrific plagues had struck the Egyptian people, the exile was over. Finally, after crushed hopes and years wasted wallowing in the depths of Egyptian culture, the exile was over. But was it really over now? Of course not. The moving process was about to begin, and that just might be the most difficult test yet.

Clean your houses of all your belongings, pack them up on your camels, and let's get going. Moses gathered up the last remains of Joseph. Men, women, and children scurried frantically to pack whatever they could. With battered souls, on little sleep, the millions of Jews who lived in Egypt were ready to leave this corrupt place, this land of savagely brutal barbarians. In the wee hours of the morning, the Jewish nation left behind their lives as slaves, and raced to the borders of their homeland, the land of Israel.

Three days later, Pharaoh realized his crtical mistake and changed his mind. The king gathered his army and personally led the affront as he harnessed his chariot and chased after the Jews in hot pursuit. They caught up with the Jews on the shores of the Red Sea. The Children of Israel were terrified. To one side, their taskmasters, now gathered on horseback, could be seen at the edge of the beach. To the other side, lay a massive body of water, with foreboding waves seeming to come closer and closer with each crash to the sand. The Jews separated into two groups -- one praying to Hashem, while the other complained to Moses for placing them in such danger. Hashem responded and told Moses to stretch out his hand over the waters. Moses did as he was told and miraculously the sea began to part, creating a path of dry land where the water had just been. The water formed a wall on both sides as the Children of Israel hurried through

the divine corridor. The Egyptians were gaining on them and by now had already begun to enter the sea. Hashem commanded Moses to stretch out his hand once again. This time, the waters returned to their natural state and came crashing down, drowning the Egyptians, their horses, and their chariots.

Overjoyed by this miraculous event, the Jewish people spontaneously began to sing, spewing forth praise and expressing their thankfulness and feelings of gratitude towards Hashem. This song by the sea, is perhaps the greatest poem in Biblical literature. All of the troubles that the Jews had suffered for the past two centuries were wiped away in one day. In one fell swoop, the darkest moment in Jewish history had been instantly transformed into a joyous celebration. On that warm spring morning, in an unprecedented feeling of total ecstasy, their song ascended to the heavens. A new season had begun. The time for freedom had finally come.

The Jewish nation had just witnessed a dramatic turn of events. One moment they were ready to admit defeat and return to Egypt, and the next, they were miraculously saved. It was at this precise moment, when disaster seemed inevitable, that calamity was changed into hope, promise, and faith. Their spirits had been exalted. It was at this moment, that the Jews burst into song to praise their redeemer, their creator. They chose to show their gratitude through the universal language of song.

Each one of us witnesses the miracles of Hashem on a daily basis. Every morning, Hashem enables us to wake up, move our legs, see the sun. We have been graced with the ability to speak, eat, and most importantly breathe. Every minute of every day we see the hands of Hashem weaving together the miracle of life.

How lucky are we, that as Hashem's chosen nation, we also have the ability to thank Him for everything that is given to us. We have the ability to express our gratitude towards our heavenly father. We have the ability to sing the praises of our creator. The Jews had just escaped the grasp of their oppressors. Hashem had performed a miracle, just as he does for us on a daily basis, and the Jewish nation was saved. Their first reaction was to sing.

We can't thank Hashem enough for all the miracles that He performs. Get the choir in order. Get your voices ready. In perfect harmony, we're going to sing.

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Benyamin Cohen is editor of Torah from Dixie.

You are invited to read more Parshat Beshalach articles.

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