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    Extra joy

    Israelites crossing the Red Sea, from a 1907 Bible card

    Referring to the Song of the Red Sea, the siddur declares, “Moses and the Children of Israel all sang with simchah rabbah (great joy)”.

    At this moment the whole people experienced such a degree of exhilaration that – as the Midrash points out – they were even spiritually higher than the prophets.

    Another instance of extreme spiritual joy is on Yom Kippur, when we reach the level of the angels.

    What a pity that the Red Sea exhilaration did not last. After crossing the sea the people came down to earth again and once more started to complain about their physical conditions.

    Unfortunately the Yom Kippur exhilaration also does not seem to last, at least with many people. On Yom Kippur we are higher than mere mortal beings, but before long we’re frail, fallible and foolish again.

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