Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

12 Shevat 5760 - January 19, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








Sponsored by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Produced and housed by

Opinion & Comment
A Song of Life

by L. Jungerman

"And then he did sing -- his heart was inspired to sing" (Rashi).

The Song of the Sea was not a one-time event. It was the beginning of a song that has no end.

He was inspired to sing. And from that time ever onward, there is a song that begs to be sung, daily. "Yoshir" in the future tense -- for they yearned to be poets forever more. And thus, this epic song has endured forever (Chiddushei HaRim).

A song, by nature, may be spontaneous, but it is not a beginning. It is a result of overflowing emotions, when the heart spills over, when a person can no longer keep his feelings bottled up and song bursts forth. This song is the quiet after the storm. The louder the tune, the quieter the storm.

Before astonished eyes wonders and miracles were being enacted; faith turned into a living experience that permeated their entire beings. And when the souls reached the bursting point, they found release in the expression of song. It was an outpouring, a liberation, a surging upward, a divine inspiration expressed through song.

Dovid Hamelech looks at the world, at himself, and contemplates. He feels with all of his senses and nerves a vibrant faith in the Creator and is filled with wonder and marvel. And he sings: "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; I cannot attain it." "I will praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works and my soul knows it so well."

The soul is permeated with wonder and overflows with the fearful marvel of faith. It cannot contain it. This psalm of Dovid was its release, its expression. And this unburdening [of a pleasant but exquisitely unbearable revelation] was the quiet after the soul-storm.


"If a person has a refined soul," writes the Chazon Ish zy'o, "and he finds himself in a quiet moment, free of physical distraction, of hungering after anything, and his eyes feast themselves upon the vista of heaven and earth and their majesty, he cannot help but become deeply moved and wondrous. The world will appear to him as a sealed enigma, marvelous but inscrutable, and this mystery will grip his heart and mind and cause him to swoon for his inability to contain or fathom it."

As you read his words, you cannot help but shed an emotional tear. The Chazon Ish felt the riddle of Creation with such intensity! Who created these? This mystery enthralls his heart and brain and is too much for him to bear. He finds himself fainting away! "I cannot contain it!"

When he sings the song of faith, his spirit returns to him. "When a person merits to see the truth of Hashem's reality and existence, he is immediately suffused with boundless joy, and his soul is pleasantly exhilarated. Imagination complements the intellect in "gazing upon the pleasantness of Hashem." And the refined, delicate soul is enveloped in holiness, and feels itself becoming disembodied from the sullied corpus, and is capable of floating about in the heavens." This is the song of the Divine Spirit. The soul is able to go beyond itself and as emotions simmer and overflow, they bear the soul along with them. And all explodes forth with tremendous vigor, bursting asunder the boundaries of the limited, anchored body. And thus, the soul floats about in the ethereal ether.

"Then he did sing. They had longings to be perennial poets." To maintain that level. Not to faint. And this song became an integral, indivisible part of our daily pesukei dezimrah. If so, faith is capable of shaking up the believer each day anew and rousing him in such a manner that song shall erupt from within him. And then he shall sing . . .

Rabbenu Eliezer Azkari zy'o writes in Sefer HaChareidim: "When reciting the shiras hayom each day, one should make the effort to do so aloud and with intense joy, as if he was going out of Egypt that very moment . . . For Hashem commanded that we sing this shira every day, as it is written, `And they said, saying.' Rashbi taught that `saying' implies something ongoing: we should continue to say it, every day, and try to recapture and simulate that great joy that was expressed the very first time it was sung."

Every day, with great joy, like upon the first occasion that it was first recited? Is this possible?

Yes, it is! We are puny and our faith is superficial. It does not permeate all the corners of our soul, but anyone who ever saw R' Yechezkel Levenstein zt'l, the Great Believer, or whoever saw the Chazon Ish pouring out his soul, or whoever was privileged to see the Chofetz Chaim describing the events surrounding the exodus from Egypt as if he were participating in them personally -- seeing these great men, one could truly believe that they were feeling it and thrilling in it as if it were a firsthand experience.

A cursory recital of the Song at the Sea from a siddur can be likened to one who was enchanted by a haunting melody and in order to recapture its magic, took a music sheet upon which the notes were recorded -- and began reading them: do re mi fa and so on.

Then did he sing: the Song of the Sea is a violin upon whose strings can be plucked all the emotions that can be likewise evoked upon from `heartstrings.' And the pure emunah evoked thereby soars straight up to Heaven. "I cannot contain it." And when he faints, lifeless, that song bursts forth, it is released. "And they said: I shall sing unto Hashem for He has been highly exalted . . . Hashem shall reign forever more."

All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.