This week’s Torah portion, Beshalach often corresponds so appropriately with Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend. In this week’s Torah portion, we go free from Egypt, and we celebrate our freedom from slavery. At the shores of the sea, we sing our “Song of the Sea,” dancing and singing Mi Chamocha.
The Hebrew word for shores is the same word as “language”…”al s’fat hayam” is actually the language of sea. At this point, in cold January, I long to stand at the shore! However, when it is warm enough to enjoy the ocean, we can pause and listen to the ‘language of the waters.’ How many of you stand at the shore and take in the absolute grandeur of it all? Flooded with gratitude; we get a flow of memories, and newfound strength.
When we pause on the shore, what opens for us, as the opening of the Sea of Reeds, and as the closing on the Egyptians who pursued us. How many of us take ourselves to a place of evaluation where we can see where we came from and where we are going. In between it all, our text tells us, do not move forward without singing a song and celebrating!
In Dr. King’s speech at the Civil Rights March, in Washington, D.C., on 28 August 1963 he reminded us to stop and sing, he said: “And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
This Friday night we will gather together to sing, and to celebrate both the visionary work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the peace of Shabbat. Guest Rabbi, Sue Levi Elwell, will join us, and lead us into the spirit of Dr. King and how his vision holds true to all we believe in as a people. Our guest speaker, is State Senator Art Haywood, who will be speaking on “Love Your Neighbor as Yourself.”
Sunday, January 16 during JQuest at 10:00 a.m., the students will engage in a Day of Learning on Zoom, working with the HaMotzi group and with JQuest teacher, Ellen Segalow.
Also on Sunday, our congregation will have a Day of Learning at 1:00 p.m., by zoom, thanks to the wonderful efforts of our Social Justice Chairs, Arlene B. Holtz, Barbara McNeil, and EMIC.
Please join us, this weekend, for all of our programming honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Cantor Amy E. Levy