This week we read Parshat BeShalah, which includes the Song of the Sea/Shirat HaYam which is sung by the Israelites following the splitting of the Red Sea. This Shabbat is called Shabbat Shira/Shabbat of Song precisely for this song, and the singing and dancing that Miriam leads the women in following the crossing of the Sea. This Shabbat, we recall the beginnings of our People’s steps toward unique peoplehood. This Shabbat, we also celebrate the extraordinary role of women in our lives. In our community, this Shabbat is Women’s Shabbat.
As we leave Egypt, we throw off the shackles of bondage and declare that we are a people, with our own culture and customs. Our custom is to sing our praises to God. “Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord: ‘I will sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously; horse and rider He has thrown into the sea/ אָז יָשִׁיר מֹשֶׁה וּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת הַשִּׁירָה הַזֹּאת לַה', וַיֹּאמְרוּ לֵאמֹר: אָשִׁירָה לַיהוָה כִּי-גָאֹה גָּאָה, סוּס וְרֹכְבוֹ רָמָה בַיָּם.” After the song, Miriam decides to express her joy just as Moses and everyone else did. “Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing. And Miriam sang to them: ‘Sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously; horse and rider He has thrown into the sea.’/וַתִּקַּח מִרְיָם הַנְּבִיאָה אֲחוֹת אַהֲרֹן אֶת-הַתֹּף--בְּיָדָהּ; וַתֵּצֶאןָ כָל הַנָּשִׁים אַחֲרֶיהָ בְּתֻפִּים וּבִמְחֹלֹת. וַתַּעַן לָהֶם, מִרְיָם, שִׁירוּ לַה' כִּי-גָאֹה גָּאָה, סוּס וְרֹכְבוֹ רָמָה בַיָּם.”
The Sfas Emes asks, “how is it possible to sing a song that was written in the Torah?” He answers by explaining that the idea of giving the Torah to the Jews was to have the light of Torah depend on every mouth and word of the people, as it is written, “the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth…” Each word of Torah is dependent on each and every person and their words and actions. When we are each allowed to raise up our voice, we raise the letters of the Torah off of the parchment, bringing it to life before our eyes, as we elevate it closer to its divine source.
This week testifies to our people’s unique national expression and of the witnessing of women openly, melodically and rightly claiming equal part of that expression. In a sense, this Shabbat is a celebration of the nexus of Zionism and Feminism. Now, much has been said about the “incompatibility” of Zionism and Feminism. Yet, that assertion makes no sense to me. As Einat Wilf writes, “They were both forms of refusal to accept the role that others have assigned to women and Jews. They were forms of self-assertion that cried out: I refuse to be seen how you wish to see me, I refuse to be that which you want me to be, I am not your inferior, I can be so much more than I am allowed to be, and I insist on being free to explore and make the most of my humanity.” Feminists and Jews are still fighting for this basic equality. This Shabbat reminds us that we have a voice. And when we raise it, miracles do indeed occur.
 Ex. 15:1
 Ex. 15:20-21
 Yehudah Aryeh Leib Alter (Hebrew יהודה אריה ליב אלתר, 15 April 1847 – 11 January 1905), also known by the title of his main work, the Sfas Emes (Yiddish) or Sefat Emet שפת אמת (Hebrew), was a Hasidic rabbi who succeeded his grandfather, Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Alter, as the Av beis din (head of the rabbinical court) and Rav of Góra Kalwaria, Poland (known in Yiddish as the town of Ger), and succeeded Rabbi Chanokh Heynekh HaKohen Levin of Aleksander as Rebbe of the Gerrer Hasidim
 The Torah was not given yet, how would they know the lyrics?!?
 Deut. 30:14
 Sfas Emes 2:66
 Einat Wilf (Hebrew: עינת וילף, born 11 December 1970) is an Israeli politician who served as a member of the Knesset for Independence and the Labor Party.
Rabbi Ezra Balser has been the rabbi at Temple Beth Sholom since July 1, 2016. He received his “smicha” (ordination) in June 2017 from Hebrew College while also earning a Master’s Degree in Jewish Studies. He has also received the iCenter's Certification in Israel Education.