Parashat B’shalach | Exodus 13:17-17:16

Imagine the scene: you’ve just left Egypt with all of your belongings on your back, surrounded by everyone you know, and many whom you do not. You reach the Red Sea, only to realize that Pharaoh and his armies are hot on your heels. You have two options: certain death at the hands of the cruel leader whom you have just escaped, or possible death in the watery depths before you. And then suddenly, a third option: God causes the waters to part, and you tentatively step across the sand, timidity and disbelief turning into a mad dash for survival. You make your way across to dry land and turn around in time to see the encroaching armies swept up in the deepening tide… 
A stunned silence falls over the huddled masses, until you hear a singular voice ring out in song, the Song of the Sea – a song of gratitude and of wonder and of praise at the first true taste of freedom. The sound grows as the song moves through the throng of Israelites around you; family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, strangers…
 
This is what we remember on Shabbat Shira: the third option which is God, and redemption, and freedom’s hard-won song.
-Rabbi Callie Schulman