By: Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron
Inviting the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land
Then Moshe and Israel Sang a Song Unto Hashem
Singing songs of praise to Hashem is an essential component of the Jewish People. So the Kabbalists teach us that the name “Israel” is a combination of two words: “Shir” – Song, and “El” – (of) God. Indeed, at the very birth of our nation Israel, both on Seder Night we sing the song of Hallel and also on the last day of Pesah, the holiday of our People’s “birth,” we read the Song of the Sea. In the introduction of our upcoming book, “Hebron – Uniting with the Holy Presence,” we talk about the “Song of Seeking,” which refers to seeking the Holy Presence in our Holy Land and Temple. In truth, this “Song” receives its inspiration from the Song of Songs which describes the lovesick seeking of the husband and wife for each other. With the same token, we have discussed numerous times how the People of Israel are likened to a “husband” and the Land of Israel to their “wife.” Pesach, when we read the Song of Songs and also read the Song of the Sea is a special time to internalize this innate song of the love within our souls for the Holy Presence of the Holy Land and Temple.
The verb root for song, “shin” “resh” can be homiletically interpreted in a number of interesting ways. For example, “shin resh” are also used in the word “shura”, a line or column, a matter which can clearly hint to the columns of the Red Sea in “lines” when splitting, and also to the special columns a song is written in the Torah. Although these columns seem to divide the text in to sections, in truth they show the unity of the text by showing how even matters that ordinarily seem distant from each other, in the inspiration of song are actually a united whole. Indeed, this inspiration can also be seen in the word Shur, also built of the letters “shin resh” can also mean “to see,” indicating the spiritual vision involved in inspired song. Shin resh can also spell “shor,” an ox. Yosef is compared to an ox in the blessings of Vezot Habracha, and he is also taken out of Egypt in the Exodus. According to our Sages the splitting of the Red Sea was in the merit of Yosef, who was also granted Divine sight and inspiration when interpreting the dreams of Pharaoh. Just as Yosef was key in interpreting these dreams which ultimately brought Israel to Egypt, so too Yosef was key in leaving Egypt. In this way also all Israel are compared to the ox of Yosef for they all entered Egypt because of Yosef.
According to the Tikunei Zohar there are ten types of song. There, in one of the types of song, called melody – “nigun” – the Tikunei Zohar teaches that this “melody” will be sounded at the time of redemption through the calls of the Shofar in the Land of Israel in merit of Hebron where the Patriarchs are buried.
Real Stories from the Holy Land #312
Pesah in Hebron at the Park Hotel: Rebetzin Miryam Levinger recounts: “My husband (Rabbi M. Levinger) went to the Minister of Transportation at the time, Yigal Alon, who was a friend, to ask for his advice on how to obtain the government’s permission. Prime Minister Levi Eshkol didn’t know what to do with all of the territory that had fallen into our hands and the defense minister, Moshe Dayan, was prepared to return it all to the Arabs in exchange for a genuine commitment to peace. Alon told my husband that when it came to settling the Land of Israel, first you establish facts on the ground and then you inform the authorities. And that’s exactly what we did.” Elyakim Haetzni continues this story of the first Pesah at Park Hotel: “Going to Hevron that Pesach in 1968 was like stepping “into a movie about some other planet. [The participants’] sense of confidence was staggering. They were possessed by an inner light that I had never seen before. The Arab owner of the establishment was just as amazed as I was. He thought he had rented all of the rooms in the hotel to a group of tourists from Switzerland, and here come these tziztit-wearing Gush Emunim types carrying refrigerators and stoves and hammering mezuzahs on doorposts as if the building belonged to them (this was in accordance to R. Tzvi Yehuda’s ruling that even a “temporary” residence in the Land of Israel is considered “permanent”, and that they should fasten a mezuza).”
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