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Torah Commentary Blog

Parashat B'shalach (January 26, 2013)
by Saul Kaiserman

THIS WEEK’S TORAH PORTION includes one of the oldest songs you’ll find that still is sung regularly today. The Mi Chamocha prayer, a critical part of every morning and evening service, first appears in the Song of the Sea, ascribed to Moses and the Israelites upon crossing the Sea of Reeds and escaping Egyptian slavery forever. Considered by scholars as one of the most ancient texts appearing in the Bible, Exodus describes first Moses leading the Israelites in song and then Miriam and the women joining in, dancing and playing drums. For thousands of years, commentators have debated the form that this singing took, implying different styles both of worship and of leadership.

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