Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"Zeh Keli!":The 1st"minyan,"in a manner of,er,singing

We've been studying the siddur/prayer book with Amit Gvaryahu again this summer, as we did last summer.  (See the "Say It Like You Mean It:  Reading Liturgical Texts" course at Mechon Hadar.)  During his discussion of the final b'rachah/blessing (Birkat Geulah?) before Sh'ma in Shacharit/Morning Service, Amit posited that the central part of this b'rachah is not our liberation from slavery in Egypt ("MiMitzraim g'altanu . . . "), but rather, the song that we sang thereafter, "Mi chamocha . . . Who is like You . . .!"  After the shiur/class, I pointed out to him that Shirat Yam Suf/The Song of (Crossing the Reed) Sea was the first time that a group of  Israelites acknowledged HaShem.  Prior to that, there'd been prayers and/or conversations with G-d by individuals such as Avraham Avinu/Abraham our Father and Moshe Rabbeinu/Moses our Teacher, but no prayers or conversations by a group.  Okay, Shirat Yam Suf wasn't exactly a prayer service.  But still, a communal acknowledgement of HaShem was something new under the sun for the Israelites.


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