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    Singing the song – B’shallach

    Israelites crossing the Red Sea, from a 1907 Bible card

    Israelites crossing the Red Sea, from a 1907 Bible card

    On Shabbat Shirah, the Sabbath of Song, the centrepiece of the Torah portion is the song of triumph of Moses and the Children of Israel (Ex. 15).

    The phrase, “Moses and the Children of Israel”, indicates that Moses led the singing and the people followed or responded to him.

    They couldn’t have used a written text because the song was clearly spontaneous, a lyrical upsurge that arose from the moment. The composer was Moses, inspired by God the Redeemer.

    It is possible that whatever the people heard from Moses they then repeated.

    How, then, were the words and phrases recorded?

    In the course of the redaction of the Torah text, the immortal words of Scripture were given permanent shape and God’s mighty saving power was remembered from year to year.

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