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Parashat Beshalach

January 26, 2024
17 Shevat 5784
Exodus 13:17 - 17:16


Dear Friends,

This week, we celebrate Shabbat Shira, the Shabbat of Song. Parshat Beshalach, "When he let go" (Exodus 13:17 - 17:16) includes the song of the sea and that of Miriam and the women - a song of victory over incredible odds. However, at this moment it is not words that draw me. It is the image of people standing together who have come through an incredible liberation and are now faced with what to do with the freedom that has been granted. They are grappling with the obligation to be there to support each other, wherever they are in their lives.

Music is key to being present for each other. It seems to me that we have discovered something very important at Tehillah. Yes, we love music and we love to pray together through song, but even more we have learned to hear one another through music, catching the pain and the joy of one another even as we pray together.

Since I first began my tenure at Tehillah, I have been blessed to work alongside one particular person who has perfected the art of listening and being present. Yes, she is an excellent musician, but what sets Rose Beer apart is her ability to be present; she catches me, brings me back into the melody, and makes me better than I would be better without her. She has done the same with Ruach Tehillah, creating a new musical entity. Musicians who are fully present are an especial joy to behold. Making music with others demands both collaboration and the ability to be present and listen.

The reason that music is emblematic for me, is the that music we share at Tehillah allows us to be in whatever part of the circle we need to be, the circle needing support, or the circle offering support. We are guided by a community that cares and works tirelessly to see all who enter in their fullness. Of course, we do not always get it right. But the task to be seen and heard is a holy one and as we navigate the difficulties that arise may we access the tools at our disposal to go forward as individuals and as community.

On this Shabbat Shira, may our voices rise in song as our hearts are opened and we wish comfort to those who have suffered loss.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Linda Shriner-Cahn

Wed, May 22 2024 14 Iyyar 5784