October 1, 2020 ~ SUKKOT. M: SIGAH / AJAM

Shabbat Beshalah - שבת בשלח

Maqam AJAM

ינון שמו איפה שועת עניים
אסיר ביוקשי קדיש
רחום אתה פזמון ספר תורה

Indirect Flights

ולא נחם אלהים דרך ארץ פלשתים כי קרוב הוא - When one embarks on a journey to achieve a goal, it would not be unwise to anticipate some bumps on the road. This is because most important things often require a lot of discipline, endurance, and hard work. There are no shortcuts on the road to greatness. When the Israelites leave Egypt, God does not lead them on the most direct route to Canaan, but rather the most indirect route. The Torah notes (Exodus 13:17) that God does not lead the nascent nation on a quick journey to Canaan, "because it is too close," and they would turn back to Egypt at the first sign of trouble. Instead, God knows that the only way for the Israelites to reach their destination is for them to make forty two stops in the wilderness. Ultimately, this "down time" proves to be essential as it allows them to receive the Torah and develop as a nation. From this we learn that the road to the "Promised Land" is never a straight line. Beth Torah Bulletin, January 28, 2018.

Long Tarha

ללכת יומם ולילה - The “Long Tarha," in the Syrian liturgical tradition, refers to the unique melody of the Tarha cantillation note in certain places of the Torah during public readings. It is traditionally reserved only for very important verses of the Torah; mostly associated with Shirat Hayam and Matan Torah. Being that this note appears like a regular Tarha, one must rely on tradition in order to know where this note occurs. Long Tarha notes in Perashat Beshalah, as per Mr Joey Mosseri, are as follows: Exodus 13:21 lalekhet, 14:16 hayam, 14:20 el zeh, 14:22 miminam, 14:26 al rikhbo, 14:29 miminam, 15:1 verokhebo, 15:2 abi, 15:3 adonai, 15:11 tehilot, 15:16 ad yaabor, 15:19 bayabashah, 15:21 verokhebo, 15:25 u'mishpat. Notice that all Long Tarha's are directly prior to a Sof Pasuq (end of sentence), and not before an Atnah. According to this Long Tarha list, there are a total of 14 in this perasha; second only to Perashat Yitro, where there are 16. Tiqqun Highlights, Beth Torah Bulletin, 1/19/19.

Human Dignity

אז ישיר משה ובני ישראל - Was Israel's "Song of the Sea" an appropriate response to witnessing the downfall of their enemies? After all, Proverbs 24:17 states "Do not rejoice at the downfall of your enemy" (בנפל אויבך אל תשמח)! The answer is that Israel did not derive pleasure from Egypt's defeat, but rather experienced great relief as a result of their miraculous escape from an existential threat. Israel's initial reaction to the divine intervention was that of shock; first, they feared God (וייראו העם את ה׳), then they increased their faith in God (ויאמינו בה׳ ובמשה עבדו), and only then, did they praise God and celebrate (אז ישיר משה ובני ישראל). The Children of Israel did not sink to the barbaric level of rejoicing the actual drownings of the Egyptians. The celebrations only began as a result of a clear realization that God orchestrated justice in the world by destroying those who have committed wrong (Beth Torah, 2/11/17).

Hur the Hero

וּמֹשֶׁה֙ אַהֲרֹ֣ן וְח֔וּר עָל֖וּ רֹ֥אשׁ הַגִּבְעָֽה - Who is Hur? In Exodus 17:10, Hur (חור), a close companion of Moses and Aharon, and possibly their brother-in-law (Josephus) or nephew (Rabbinic tradition), goes up to the top of the hill, and helps lift Moses' arms during the battle of Rephidim. In Exodus 24:14, Hur is left as a co-leader, along with Aharon, when Moses goes up to Mount Sinai to receive the Torah. Hur is only mentioned once more in Exodus 31:1 as being from the tribe of Judah, and as being the grandfather of Bessalel, the one charged with building the Tabernacle. The Midrash attempts to fill the gaps of this story by saying that Hur was killed by the Israelites when he tries to prevent them from making the Golden Calf. This intimidates Aharon into following the people's demand of making an idol for them. As a result for his heroism, Hur is posthumously rewarded by having his grandson, Bessalel, become the lead co-builder of the Tabernacle. Beth Torah Bulletin, February 8, 2020.

Maqam of the Week: AJAM

On Shabbat Beshalah (Exodus 13:17- 17:16), also called Shabbat Shira, we read the Song of the Sea (Shirat Hayam). Therefore, AJAM, the maqam known for its joyous melodies, is applied according to ALL sources. The melody of Maqam AJAM is familiar to many, because it is the Arabic equivalent to the Western Major scale. Excluding Yom Tob festivals, this is one of only three Shabbats of the year that this maqam is applied. HAZZANUT: Shirat Hayam in Zemirot recited in unison. Semehim: Ya El Gadol VeNedar (page 397); for Tu Bishbat. PIZMON SEFER TORAH: Rahum Ata (page 216). Sephardic Pizmonim Project, www.pizmonim.com.


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