One of my private theories is that -- after passing through the Red Sea and then seeing the Egyptians drowned after -- the Israelites were starting to panic. The reality of "we can't go back" was starting to set in; it was a permanent, drastic, irrevocable change point in their lives; and they were starting to doubt, starting to feel the "we were better off in safe captivity" / "have we come out here only to die" that crops up later. And that Miriam could tell things were starting to fall apart, and very deliberately started a song of celebration, of "God is helping us", to change the mood.

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This is beautiful.

It's worth noting, I think, that the Song at the Sea is commonly referred to as _Shirat Miriam_, Miriam's Song, and is the basis for recognizing Miriam's status as a prophet. The text may have put (moved?) her to the coda rather than the introduction of the song, but it's still called by her name and not her brother's.

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This essay knocked the wind out of me, Rabbi. Thank you.

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Rabbi, thank you for teaching about Claudette and Miriam, and for all you do.

I hope that you and all rabbis and other Jewish leaders can take all the time you need for your own grounding and well being, after the antisemitic hostage taking on Shabbat at Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker's synagogue, Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyille, Texas.

There are links below to four poems exploring the subject of trees, for celebrating Tu Bishvat, Jewish new year of the trees, today.


The Tree by Adrienne Rich

[Excerpt from the beginning of the poem:]

"Long ago I found a seed,

And kept it in a glass of water,

And half forgot my dim intent

Until I saw it start to reach

For life with one blind, fragile root..."

[The full text of the poem is available to read here:]

Adrienne Rich: The Tree / May 15, 2020 / Divna Popov / femina ludens



What Kind of Times Are These? by Adrienne Rich

[Excerpt from the beginning of the poem:]

"There's a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphill

and the old revolutionary road breaks off into shadows

near a meeting-house abandoned by the persecuted

who disappeared into those shadows..."

[The full text of the poem is available to read here:]

Poetry Foundation



The Trees by Adrienne Rich

[Excerpt from the beginning of the poem:]

"The trees inside are moving out into the forest,

the forest that was empty all these days

where no bird could sit

no insect hide

no sun bury its feet in shadow

the forest that was empty all these nights

will be full of trees by morning..."

[The full text of the poem is available to read here:]

Analysis of Poem "The Trees" by Adrienne Rich / Owlcation / Andrew Spacey / Sept. 18, 2020



Trees by Howard Nemerov

from The Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov."

[Excerpt from the beginning of the poem:]

"To be a giant and keep quiet about it,

To stay in one's own place;

To stand for the constant presence of process

And always to seem the same;

To be steady as a rock and always trembling,..."

[The full text of the poem is available to read here:]

Nemerov's "Trees" / In a Dark Time...The Eye Begins to See / Loren Webster / Oct. 9, 2007



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I love synchronicities like this.

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Thank you so much!

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Excellent essay and THANK YOU for the link at the bottom!!

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Part (most) of thoughts on leaving Egypt with babies and timbrels:

When the Israelite women packed their meager belongings before the Exodus, were they thinking only about celebrating miracles? Unlikely. Pause for a moment and imagine: what it was like to leave Egypt with a two-and-a-half-year-old?

Before they were used to praise the Redeemer and celebrate redemption, the timbrels could entertain, soothe or, at least, distract hungry, confused and frightened babies and children. Before they were tools of liberation, the timbrels were tools of care....

Ethics of care were exemplified during the journey out of Egypt not only by the Israelite women but also by the Holy Blessed One, who cared for the hungry toddlers. In Midrash Shemot Rabbah, Rabbi Nehorei explains: “When passing through the sea, an Israelite woman who was carrying a crying child could reach out her hand, and pluck an apple or pomegranate out of the sea and gives to the child.” The shiny red, sweet fruit appears when as needed. The toddler is fed and the parents – who apparently lacked experience in traveling with children – learned a lesson: don’t budge without taking snacks for the children.

The people of Israel marched in the mud and in the dark, between walls of water, came to the other side and burst into song, in two choruses.

About one it is said: “Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Eternal. They said: I will sing to the Eternal, for God has triumphed, yes, triumphed” (Exodus 15:1). Although they are singing together, each one stands as individual, using the singular “I will sing.”

About the other chorus, we are told, “Miriam chanted responsively with them: “Sing [plural] to the Eternal for God has triumphed, yes, triumphed” (verse 21). Miriam leads and asks for a response from the women. They answer and sing together using plural language.

I wish I could claim that gender segregation at the sea is a thing of the past, but this goal remains unattained, in numerous ways. It is not enough that women can now work in traditionally "male" professions. It is also important for men to take on the work of care....

Until society appreciates and rewards fairly care-oriented people who sing their song in the plural, in a manner similar to the individualists who espouse personal achievements, we will not reach the Promised Land.


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Brilliant work, Rabbi Danya. Thank you.

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I sent a link to a song -- about the history of the Blues in the U.S. -- titled "Took Away the Drum" in a previous post (Jan. 18), because it tells a little about the story of how people who were enslaved in the U.S.had their drums taken away, but restored the power of their drum communications by recreating similar drum rhythms through their voices and bodies. Even if enslavers in Mitzraim had taken away the timbrel drums from Miriam and the women, I can imagine them doing the same thing. The rhythms in their singing carry resistance and freedom communications. It helped to think about that this week.

Today it also helped to read a doctor's thread, cut & paste below: from a total of 9 tweets). Maybe her perspective will be useful to others reading here. May this kind of much-needed, and compassionate giving and receiving increase in the world:


Thread from Kimberly D. Manning, MD @gradydoctor (Twitter handle) / she/her/ma'am / Emory Dept. of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia - Jan. 17, 2022


Grady Hospital

Him: "I like the way you look at me."

Me: "Excuse me, sir?"

Him: "I mean. . . I like how your eyes look at me."

His words caught me off guard. I’d only been there a few moments. It seemed misplaced.

Me: "I want to receive that. Tell me what you mean, sir.


Him: "It's like your eyes they look at me like . . . I don't know. Like I'm somebody worth you looking at.”

Me: *listening*

Him: “Like they happy to see me. Do that make sense?"

Me: "I think so.

" *silence*


Him: "It’s like, when you came in here, you put your eyes on me and right off they told me. Like you made up your mind even 'fore you came in here. Like, 'So what about what he look like or what stuff he got going on. He worth my time.’ I could tell.”

I kept listening.


Him: "’Cause the eyes? See, they tell a lot. Your mouth could be saying one thang, but the eyes? They gon’ tell on you every time."

Me: *listening*

Him: "Disgusted. Don't approve. Don't care. Don’t believe. In a hurry. All that. You can see it in how they eyes look at you."


Him: "But I like how you look at me. I do."

He held my gaze and emphasized the word “like.”

Me: *sigh* "Thanks, sir. For real."

Him: "I hope you look at all your patients like that. 'Cause sometimes that's all anybody need to feel better."

Me: *tiny nod*

And that was it.


After that, I left his room, stepped into the nearest bathroom and cried.

Because that feedback was so unexpectedly kind.

But also because he was someone with medical and social problems I couldn’t fix. At least not today I couldn’t.

7 /

Sometimes it feels insurmountable when there are so many things out of our control.

But he reminded me that we do have something to give.

I patted my eyes and stared into them in the mirror for a few moments to try to see what he saw. And to offer some empathy to myself.


Me: “Hey sis. I’m glad you here.”

Also me: “Me too, sis. Me, too.”

I laughed and shook my head. Then went on back to work.

You know? It’s rough trying to divide not enough by too much. But what if one of the main things someone needed, we had all along? Hmmm.


And I get it. Optimism can’t fix everything. And these same eyes see all that is wrong or awful. I do.


Not at the expense of seeing what is beautiful. And these fleeting moments with these human beings trusting us to care? They are so beautiful. Yeah. [large gold heart emoji] #grateful


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To add to the mobilizing information (for those who reside in the US), you can also contact your Senators via this page: https://www.senate.gov/senators/senators-contact.htm.

Make good trouble!

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The RaDR wrote: "You know, it’s funny. Some of these essays—including this one—were written long before I had any idea when they would be sent out. As you’ll see in a moment, this one, as so many of them, are awfully resonant with their timing."


Yes, this essay is like one of the timbrels that Miriam and the women had brought with them.


Rashi on Exodus 15:20

WITH TIMBRELS AND WITH DANCES — The righteous women in that generation were confident that God would perform miracles for them and they accordingly had brought timbrels with them from Egypt (Mekhilta d'Rabbi Yishmael 15:20:2).

Sefaria / Rashi on Exodus 15:20 / Mekilta d'Rabbi Yishmail 15:20:2



Song / Took Away the Drum / Mighty Mo Rogers / from Blues is My Wailin' Wall, 1999, Verve

Mighty Mo Rogers posted to YouTube Jan. 9 2019


music video: 4 min 19 sec

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