January 18th is Shabbat Shira, the Sabbath of Song. It is during this Shabbat that we chant Shirat Hayam, the Song of the Sea, found in the parsha (portion) B’shalach in the Book of Exodus. As Moses and the Israelites miraculously pass to freedom, they share their joy and awe in song. The words of Shirat Hayam express their gratitude to G-d and their awareness of their divine liberation at the shore of the Sea of Reeds.
The chanting/singing of Shirat Hayam is quite distinctive. Perhaps to add eloquence and a sense of triumph, the phrases that contain G-d’s name are sung with a special melody. One of the verses sung to this festive tune is the Mi Chamocha, our prayer of freedom that is part of our weekday, Shabbat and Festival liturgy. Each time we chant the Mi Chamocha we thank G-d for our miraculous deliverance from Egypt. Those verses in Shirat Hayam without G-d’s name are chanted using the traditional cantilation that we hear on a typical Shabbat. Shifting between the traditional cantilation and the special melody creates a uniquely characteristic sound. Come and listen to this triumphal poetic song of thankfulness and faith. Our Shabbat Shira on Jan. 18h at 7PM, will be a primarily musical service. Some of our CBT children will share a couple of melodies they have been learning during T’filah, and our adult choir will join me on some old favorites as well. Other familiar pieces highlighting freedom will be also be shared throughout the night! This is a multigenerational community Shabbat service meant to inspire us to embrace our freedom through our voices.