“Shir” Emunah

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In the parsha, klal yisroel sing Shirah to HaShem regarding their redemption from mitzrayim, even though they were still in the midst of escaping their oppression.

The way of tzadikim is to sing the praises of HaShem even still within tzar…for they have absolute trust that HaShem will deliver that salvation.


The Mareh Yechezkel explains on a deeper level one of the questions the Gemara (Shabbos 31a) says we will be given. 

What’s the question in the Gemara?

“Did you anticipate/hope for the salvation?”

It’s more than that. The Mareh Yechezkel points out that everyone hopes for salvation. He argues the question is better translated with the word “foresee” instead of “hope/await/anticipate.” As such, the real question we will be asked is this:’

Did you build enough Emunah in HaShem to foresee and trust in the salvation as if it had already come?

Klal yisroel sang shirah. So, too, it seems, we have a chiyuv to sing shirah on our own tzuris. It’s our duty, as the Bobover Ruv suggests, to see Geula even before redemption takes place. 

Just as HaShem exists above time, the past and future are one, so too the tzadikim who rejoice over coming miracles, celebrate together with Hashem in the present for a future good.

Bobover Ruv, Parshas Bishalach

The Shiras HaYam is an embodiment of the shoresh of emunah. It brings a future tense, building the structure of our emunah. The Medrash comments klal yisroel was destined to sing a song for the future.

Jews don’t wait for miracles to happen. We sing in the strength of our pure faith and trust in HaShem.

Divrei Shlomo

The Kedushas HaLevi writes that their emunah led them to the shir before salvation took place. 

Mechilta states that their emunah is what sufficed to see the sea split. 

Let’s look at that for a moment… 

Promise of redemption, 
led into a physical and spiritual “corner,”
A Sea on one side, enemy the other,
The Sea supposed to split…
…and what happened?

Nachshon dove in, before the Sea split,
Demanding a response in kind.
Action based in faith,
Bitachon was the needed component.

Emunah and Bitachon go hand in hand.

  • We place faith/trust in HaShem…that’s Emunah
  • We act in kind with Emunah…that’s Bitachon

A lack of bitachon means a lack of emunah. If there’s no willingness to “put your money where your mouth is,” then your emunah is not built on dry ground, just sliding sand.

  • The Emunah of klal yisroel led to praise.
  • Praise led to action.
  • Action lead to nissim.
  • Nissim led to Geula.
No emunah = no shirah = no dive = no redemption.

The shir says the sea saw and split. Chazal ask, what did the sea see? The Medrash on Tehillim says it saw the coffin of Yosef HaTzaddik. But what does that mean? 

We’ve previously discussed the notion that Yaakov is the pillar of Emunah. This association with Emunah was passed to his son, Yosef. Yosef taught the concept of emunah, and Moshe represented emunah on a very high level. 

There are three opinions as to what the sea saw. 

  1. The literal coffin of Yosef
  2. The etzem of Yosef on Moshe
  3. The Emunah of klal yisroel

I’d like to argue that all three are the same.

The Noam Elimelech says when Moshe Rabbeinu brought Yosef’s coffin, the merit of Yaakov on Yosef’s bones was recognized and the angel of the sea no longer had an accusation against klal yisroel.

This returns us to the merit of the tzaddikim and how we can turn to a tzaddik for deliverance. Krias Yam Suf was designed to strengthen the emunah of klal yisroel. They were associated with the tzaddik and they believed in HaShem and Moshe at that moment. What did it mean, however, to believe “in Moshe, His servant?”

The Kedushas HaLevi says it became clear to every Jew that their potential was unlimited. They saw through the seven heavens and realized they could be as great as Moshe Rabbeinu. With the appropriate effort, they could achieve great heights. 

How it is all three?

  • Yaakov’s essence of Emunah was transferred to Yosef.
  • Moshe set out in pursuit of Yosef’s bones, making him like Yosef.
  • The Emunah of klal yisroel was the essence of Yaakov, passed to Yosef.

Thus, we see that all three are true.

We are no different today. We live in Galus. We are surrounded by the American Mitzrayim of excess, decadence, and shtuss. And yet, here we are, learning Torah and seeking to deepen our Avodas HaShem. 

Our potential has no limit. But we must have emunah, and that emunah must produce bitachon.