During the month of Shevat, we have a special Shabbat — Shabbat Shirah, which the Shabbat where we read Parsha Beshalach (Ex 13:17-17:16). There are many named Shabbatot during the year, Shabbat Gadol, Shabbat Shuvah, etc. etc. Shabbat Shirah is more than just a Shabbat where we read a “special” Torah portion, I mean — aren’t all Parshot special? Ostensibly, Shabbat Shirah, Sabbath of Song, is called this because we read the “Song at the Sea” (Exodus 15). But like in so much of Jewish life, we’ve built and built on that.
It’s an Ashkenazi tradition to feed the birds on Shabbat Shirah. On the Sabbath of Song, we provide sustenance for the singers of the natural world. Right now I’m studying the Perek Shirah, a text that teaches us to learn Torah from the natural world, which is making this practice very present for me.
“The soul [Read more…]