The Shabbat when Parashat Beshalach is read is also called "Shabbat Shira" ["Shabbat of Song"] because of the song Moses and the Jewish people sang at the splitting of the Red Sea. Song is particularly connected to Shabbat, as King David wrote, "A song for Shabbat" (Psalms 92). Shabbat completes and elevates all of our actions from the previous week…

Also, Kabbala explains that Shabbat completes and elevates all of our actions from the previous week. These elevations happen through song. Since the commandment of Shabbat is first mentioned in parashat Beshalach (see Rashi's commentary on Ex. 15:25), this indicates that this Shabbat is the source for the elevation of all spiritual and physical worlds on every Shabbat of the year for all generations! Shabbat Shira is elemental to our ability to complete our goals and change our spiritual status for the better! For all of the above reasons, it is incumbent upon us to make this Shabbat very special, removing ourselves as much as possible from weekday actions and thoughts, and filling it with joy and song. It is also important this Shabbat to focus on the use of song in prayer, as a vehicle to access higher worlds, which will help reveal the coming redemption. Use every minute to the max! The number 50 is connected to the highest level of spiritual understanding…

The Shelah quotes the Zohar, stressing the importance for each Jew to concentrate while reciting the Song of the Sea each day; whoever does so will merit to say it in the World to Come. What is the connection of this song to the World to Come? The phrase "going out of Egypt" is mentioned 50 times in the Torah. The number 50 is connected to the highest level of spiritual understanding. The Jewish people were brought to this level by experiencing miracles in Egypt and at the splitting of the Sea. Since the first redemption is a prototype for the final one, saying and understanding this song in our generation is a preparation for the divine consciousness that will infuse the world at the final redemption. We see this in the words, "Then they will sing", which appear contradictory. "Then" is in the past tense - while "will sing" denotes the future. The reason for this is that the Song of the Sea is the bridge between the past and future eras. Resolve not to miss a day - don't worry; this prayer is incorporated into the morning prayers.

The Seer of Lublin wrote that through enthusiastic song and joy in holiness a person can not only escape all types of difficulties, but can also cause an increase in financial income. This is because when we are happy in the face of adversity, the "severities are sweetened", and this has a direct effect on our success in the physical world. Because song and happiness wash over a person like a river, it is also like a spiritual mikveh, bringing extra purity. Do not miss it!

Rebbe Shlomo of Zveill, one of Reb Michel of Zlotchov's five sons, connects the idea of livelihood to the manna, a small portion of which was put away in the First Temple as a symbol for all generations. Why was it so important that we were commanded to preserve a portion? One reason is that seeing the food we were fed for 40 years in the desert serves as a reminder of how we were redeemed from Egypt to serve the Almighty. Another reason is that a person who faithfully serves G‑d never has to worry about supporting his or her family. Just as the Jews' food came in a miraculous way while we were under G‑d protection in the desert, so too a person's livelihood is assured if his or her faith is strong.

Some years, Tu B'Shevat (the fifteenth of the month of Shevat), the New Year for Trees, falls on this Shabbat. Every person is compared to a fruit-bearing tree, with strong roots in our faith, and with "fruits" of good deeds. Just as Shabbat Shira is our annual source for ascending to higher spiritual levels, so too Tu B'Shvat is the source for bringing forth spiritual sustenance drawn from a Jew's roots into the fruits of mitzvahs.

Shabbat Shalom, Shaul

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