The Daily Song

In this week’s Parsha, we read the Shiras HaYam. The Shiras HaYam was said as a reaction to the extraordinary miracle of Krias Yam Suf which the Jews just experienced. The Shira begins with אז ישיר משה ובני ישראל את השירה הזאת ויאמרו לאמר. The word לאמר is difficult to understand because it usually means that which is about to be said should be said over to someone. But in the Pasuk, Moshe and the Bnei Yisrael are mentioned already so what is the purpose of the word לאמר?

The Yerushalmi in Sotah (5:4) asks what‘s the לאמר to which it answers לאמר לדורות. The Meforshim on the Yerushalmi offer different explanations. The Pnei Moshe says שיזכירו תמיד בכל יום את השירה הזאת that one should say the Shira every day. The Korban HaEida adds א"נ שיאמרו שירה על כל נס שיעשה להם that this Shira should be said when future miracles happen. That what the Korban HaEida says is understandable because just like they said Shira for the נס of Krias Yam Suf, so too they should say this Shira on future miracles. But according to the Pshat of the Pnei Moshe that we should say this Shira every day, this Shira was said on נסים גלוים. But in our daily lives, we don’t experience such נסים so why should we say the Shira every day? Furthermore, the Mishna Berura (51:17) brings in the name of the Zohar ויאמר שירת הים בשמחה וידמה בדעתו כאלו באותו היום עבר בים. A person is supposed to say the Shiras HaYam with a שמחה and as if he himself today just experienced Krias Yam Suf. This is completely incomprehensible because why should we feel as if Krias Yam Suf happened to us today if it didn’t. And even more so, how can we be expected to feel such a way? This is seemingly an expectation that is impossible to fulfil as Krias Yam Suf was a once in history occurrence and a person can live his whole life without experiencing any form of a miracle, especially not a miracle such as Krias Yam Suf. Therefore how could it be expected of a person to say Shiras HaYam every day with a שמחה and as if he just experienced Krias Yam Suf?

In Pesachim 118a, רב שיזבי says in the name of רבי אלעזר בן עזריה that קשין מזוניתיו של אדם כקריעת ים סוף because דכתיב נתן לחם לכל בשר וסמיך ליה לגזר ים סוף לגזרים. Usually a person who would say such a thing is someone who has difficulty with פרנסה. But one usually doesn’t hear a successful business man complaining about the difficulty with making a פרנסה. However, the בעל המימרא is רבי אלעזר בן עזריה who was the richest of the Tanaim. About his wealth, the Gemara in Shabbos 54b says תריסר אלפי עגל הוה מעשר ראב"ע מעדריה כל שתא ושתא so he wasn’t lacking a פרנסה. Also, the Gemara in Brachos 57a says if someone sees רבי אלעזר בן עזריה in a dream, it’s a sign that he will become wealthy. Being that ראב"ע was the one who said this statement, it can’t merely be expressing the difficulty in making a livelihood. It also can’t be that its קשין for Hashem because for Hashem, everything is equally easy. Therefore, what is the meaning of קשין מזונותיו של אדם כקריעת ים סוף? It must be that when ראב"ע said קשין מזונותיו של אדם כקריעת ים סוף, he was saying that although he was so successful, he nevertheless recognized that it was קשין כקריעת ים סוף. Just like it was obvious that it was Hashem who orchestrated splitting of the sea as it was completely miraculous without a natural explanation and nobody thought it was the doing of any Jew standing there, so too is the פרנסה of a person. The פרנסה of a person is not a product of one’s own efforts and success rather it’s only because of Hashem who gives him the ability to make a פרנסה. Another example where something is קשין כקריעת ים סוף is the Gemara in Sotah 2a that says וקשין לזווגן כקריעת ים סוף. The simple meaning of this Gemara is that finding the right match is קשין כקריעת ים סוף. But it could also be about maintaining the marriage. Maintaining the marriage, each day, could be קשין כקריעת ים סוף. The Gemara in Brachos 8a says that in מערבא they had a Minhag to ask the Chosson the day after he got married מצא או מוצא? מצא - דכתיב מצא אשה מצא טוב ויפק רצון מה', מוצא דכתיב: ומוצא אני מר ממות את האשה. What’s really the difference between these two Psukim? The Pasuk says ומוצא אני מר ממות את האשה with an emphasis on the אני because if a person thinks it’s his doing and his accomplishments, then its מר ממות. But if a person recognizes humbly that his fate is in the hands of the Ribono Shel Oilam and it’s all Hashem’s doing just like Krias Yam Suf was, then it’ll be מצא אשה מצא טוב without the אני; it’s a find without the אני.

But this is seemingly a strange thing to be asking a Chosson about his new wife right after he gets married whether she is a מצא or a מוצא, whether or not she is a good match. But it could be explained as a Mussar because what she is to him might have more to do with how he is than how she is. Whether she is a מצא or a מוצא is sometimes a reflection of one’s self. If the person is a good person then it’ll be a מצא but if he is not a good person, she’ll be a מוצא. But if we are asking him, then that means it is not too late to work on himself and change it from being a מוצא to being a מצא. In the same vein, on the Pasuk אעשה לו עזר כנגדו, Rashi brings the Medrash that says אם זכה - עזר, ואם לא זכה – כנגדו from which we see that what she is to him depends on who he is. Similarly, in the Haftorah which talks about דבורה הנביאה, a tremendous person and yet the Pasuk refers to her as אשת לפידות. In the context of talking about such a great person as דבורה הנביאה it’s surprising to reference her by her husband who is unknown. (It could be because of this difficulty Chazal explain that she was called אשת לפידות because she would make the wicks for the Beis HaMikdash.) Unless the idea is because really he facilitated her path to greatness.

But in truth, it works both ways just like who the women becomes depends on the husband, also who the man becomes depends on the wife. In אשת חיל it says נודע בשערים בעלה בשבתו עם זקני ארץ which is talking about the husband. How is such a Pasuk part of the אשת חיל if it’s talking about the husband? It could be that the reason it’s part of the אשת חיל is because a true אשת חיל knows how to bring the best out of her husband and therefore נודע בשערים בעלה בשבתו עם זקני ארץ is one of the שבחות of the אשת חיל. Since a person every day has מזוניתיו and זווגו, he is recognizing every day the abundance of Chessed that the Ribono Shel Oilam is doing for him. If a person understands thatקשין מזונותיו andשל אדם כקריעת ים סוף זווגו, so actually every day he is crossing the Yam Suf and he recognizes Hashem’s Chessed and he should be בשמחה every day as if that day he crossed the Yam Suf because every day is no less than Krias Yam Suf except for that Krias Yam Suf was a נס נגלה and we live in נסים נסתרים.

(As a side note on the above Psukim the word מצא is past tense and מוצא is present tense, and a marriage is really a בעל אבידה מחזר אחר אבידתו because he is really finding the original match. The Gemara in Sotah 2a asks how it could be וקשין לזווגן כקריעת ים סוף if it saysארבעים יום קודם יצירת הולד, בת קול יוצאת ואומרת: בת פלוני לפלוני בית פלוני לפלוני שדה פלוני לפלוני to which the Gemara answers הא בזוג ראשון, הא בזוג שני. The simple understanding is that a זוג ראשון-first marriage is easy and זוג שני-second marriage is hard. But the הגהות יעב"ץ in the back of the Gemara says in short it doesn’t necessarily mean a first and second marriage but his first marriage could be a זווג שני. The idea could be that in heaven, this couple were meant for each other. But more often than not, they evolve in a way that they stray from where they are meant to be and therefore their marriage in this world is that of a זווג שני. It’s no longer with the original זווג because who they were in heaven as a match is not who they are anymore and therefore its קשין כקריעת ים סוף. So when the Pasuk says מצא which is past tense, that means where he found is old זווג, as it was in heaven and that is מצא אשה מצא טוב. But if it’s מוצא-present tense, finding something new, than its מר ממות.)

Endless Song

Although we read the Shiras HaYam, it’s not clear where the Shira actually ends. On the Pasuk כי בא סוס פרעה ברכבו ובפרשיו בים וישב ה' עלהם את מי הים ובני ישראל הלכו ביבשה בתוך הים (טו,יט) the Ibn Ezra writes לפי דעתי, כי גם זה הפסוק מהשירה, להזכיר הפלא שעשה בתוך פלא that this Pasuk is part of the Shira and it’s mentioning the נס בתוך נס that while the Jews were still in the Yam Suf, it started to crash down on the Mitzriim behind them. However, the Ramban quotes the Ibn Ezra and disagrees and says ואיננו בלשון השירה והנבואות אבל פירושו, אז ישיר משה, כי בא סוס פרעה ביום ההוא מיד. According to the Ramban, the Pasuk כי בא סוס פרעה וכו' is the Torah speaking and it’s going back on אז ישיר. Rashi in Chumash isn’t clear either way but in Gittin 90a when Rashi is explaining that the word כי has four meanings, he says וכי בא סוס פרעה וגו' מפני שבא סוס פרעה וגו' לפיכך ותקח מרים וגו. It seems according to Rashi that the Pasuk כי בא סוס פרעה וכו' is not part of the Shira and its connected to the next Pasuk of ותקח מרים. It comes out that according to the Ramban and Rashi, the Pasuk כי בא סוס פרעה is not part of the Shira and therefore the last Pasuk in the Shira is ה' ימלוך לעולם ועד but according to the Ibn Ezra, it is.

Whether or not כי בא סוס פרעה is part of the Shira makes a difference in Halacha. In Masechta Sofrim Chapter 12, it says that the Shira needs to be written בשלושים שיטין, on thirty lines. In the Torah, written on the last two lines is the Pasuk כי בא סוס פרעה. According to the Ramban and Rashi that the Shira ends with ה' ימלוך לעולם ועד, that Pasuk needs to be the last Pasuk on the שלושים שיטין and the way it appears in the Torah today is seemingly not Kosher. However this wouldn’t seem to be critical because when the Rambam brings this Halacha, it is not לעיכובא. However there is a difference which would have ramifications in Halacha and that is the Shira needs to be written אריח ע"ג לבינה and the Rambam writes in Hilchos Sefer Torah 7:11 that if the Shira is written like the rest of the כתב, like a brick, and not אריח ע"ג לבינה, then the Sefer Torah is פסול. But if any other part of the Torah is written like a Shira, אריח ע"ג לבינה, then it is also פסול. Therefore, since in our Sefer Torah כי בא סוס פרעה is written אריח ע"ג לבינה and not like a brick, it must be that it’s part of the Shira like the Ibn Ezra and not like Rashi and Ramban However, there is a contradiction between how our Sefer Torah has the Shira, which is to have כי בא סוס פרעה as אריח ע"ג לבינה indicating its part of the Shira and what we do in Pesukei Dzimrah. The Rama in OH 51:7 says that one should repeat the Pasuk כל הנשמה וכו' because it is the end of Pesukei Dzimrah and also (quoting the Abudraham) the Pasuk ה' ימלוך לעולם ועד in אז ישיר. The Abudraham himself writes the reason is to show that it is the end of the Shira. It’s clear that the Abudraham was like the opinions of Rashi and the Ramban that כי בא סוס פרעה is not part of the Shira. So the way we say the Shira in davening is not like how it is in the Sefer Torah.

But not only is there a contradiction between how the Shira is said in davening and how it’s written in the Torah, but there is a contradiction within davening itself regarding how we say the Shira. The Magen Avraham there in ס"ק ט says in the name of the Arizal שטוב לומר עם השירה פסוק כי בא סוס וכו'. The indication of this is that כי בא סוס וכו' is not part of the Shira just it’s good to say it along with the Shira. However, the Mishna Berura there writes the reason to say כי בא סוס וכו' is because it’s part of the Shira. According to this, what is done in most Shuls is a contradiction. On the one hand we repeat ה' ימלוך לעולם ועד signaling that it is the end of the Shira, but then we say כי בא סוס וכו' which according to the Mishna Berurah is part of the Shira in which case we shouldn’t repeat the Pasuk ה' ימלוך לעולם ועד because the Shira is not yet complete? Because of this problem, in the Siddur of Reb Yaakov Emden’s father, it says to say כי בא סוס וכו’and not to repeat ה' ימלוך לעולם ועד.

To solve this issue, it could be said that there is the פרשת השירה and the חפצא of the Shira itself. Regarding the Halachos of שלושים שיטין and אריח ע"ג לבינה, those Halachos were said for the פרשת השירה but not by the חפצא of the Shira itself. According to this, it could be like Rashi and the Ramban that כי בא סוס וכו' is not מגוף השירה and therefore we repeat ה' ימלוך לעולם ועד, but nevertheless כי בא סוס וכו' is written as part of the Shira with the relevant Halachos מדין פרשת השירה. The Rambam in the end of Sefer Ahava brings the order of davening and he writes by Az Yashir וקורא השירה עד סופה כמנהג המקום. It’s not clear what the Rambam is referring to when he ends off כמנהג המקום. The Rambam in Hilchos Tefila 7:13 writes יש מקומות שנהגו בהן לקרות בכל יום אחר שמברכין ישתבח שירת הים ואחר כך מברכין על שמע, ויש מקומות שקורין שירת האזינו, ויש יחידים שקורין שתי השירות הכל לפי המנהג. (Side note, the Rambam has Shiras HaYam after Yishtabach.) One could explain the Rambam in the end of Sefer Ahava which says וקורא השירה עד סופה כמנהג המקום that he is referring to the Minhagim above of saying שירת הים or שירת האזינו. However, that doesn’t seem to be the correct explanation because if that would be the case, there would be no need for the Rambam to add עד סופה, rather it would be sufficient for the Rambam to just write וקורא השירה כמנהג המקום. Therefore it could be that already during the times of the Rambam there were different opinions regarding the end of the Shira, if it was the Pasuk ה' ימלוך לעולם ועד or the Pasuk כי בא סוס וכו' and therefore when he writes וקורא השירה עד סופה כמנהג המקום, he is referring to Minhagim of where to end the Shira.

However, this that there is confusion as to where the Shiras HaYam ends might not be a coincidence. Reb Tzadok explains that שיר is דבר המקיף meaning it’s a לשון of something that is circular. To explain this idea, it could be that just like in a song the back and forth of the notes together make up the beauty of the song, so also in life we should realize the regressions and progressions are all part of one complete wholeness. Therefore life is like a circle that at the end it all comes together. The Medrash Rabba says that the אז ישיר משה was a correction for when Moshe said ומאז באתי על פרעה וכו'. When Moshe Rabbeinu initially came to Pharaoh, his actions seemed to have the opposite affects and it was only setting the Jews from being redeemed. But what Moshe didn’t realize was that every regression is really a progression and that’s because of the קושי השעבוד, they went out of Mitzrayim after 210 years as opposed to 430 years. So when the עבדות became worse after Moshe came to Pharaoh, it seemed like a regression and that things were getting worse but really it was a progression that because the שעבוד got worse, it expedited their time in Mitzrayim. It was only at the end where Moshe finally understand and it all came together and that’s why he sang Shira. That is how the אז ישיר משה was a תיקון for when he said ומאז באתי על פרעה וכו'. Also, in the Gemara Gittin 56b which discusses when Titus stabbed the Paroches and blood came out Reb Yishmael was דורש the Pasuk in the Shira מי כמכה באילים ה'-מי כמכה באלמים. This means that the Shira brings us to a level of understanding that even what is apparently negative has a positive message. Sometimes we see the מי כמכה באילים ה'- Gevura, when Hashem displays his strength and sometimes we see the מי כמכה באלמים when Hashem controls himself and doesn’t let his כעס conquer the שונאי ישראל. But in both situations it’s all מי כמכה and part of a bigger picture. So the idea of a Shira is that we sing Shira when we have the realization that every regression is really a progression. Therefore it’s befitting of the Shira to not have a clear end, because it expresses the idea that there is no real end but rather it’s a cycle.

תחיית המתים מן התורה

In the beginning of the Shira, Rashi quotes the Medrash אמרו רבותינו זכרונם לברכה, מכאן רמז לתחיית המתים מן התורה. What is the emphasis of מן התורה? It would seem sufficient to just be from here we see a מקור for תחיית המתים. What is the extra emphasis of מן התורה? In his Hakdama to שב שמעתתא, the קצות writes that a person can only get Oilam Haba through learning Torah or by supporting Torah. He says this is the meaning of the Mishna in Sanhedrin אלו שאין להם חלק לעה"ב וכו' והאומר אין תחיית המתים מן תורה that even if a person believes in the idea of תחיית המתים but it’s not מסיבת התורה that the revival is not because of the Torah, he will not have a חלק in Oilam Haba. That is the meaning of לתחיית המתים מן התורה that it’s specifically because of תורה, the Torah is the כח for תחיית המתים and it’s not just saying a רמז form the Torah in the sense of where it can be found but that it’s the source, it’s what powers it.

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