Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Notes from the Underground - shiras ha'yam

Az yashir... va'yomru leimor.  Why the extra word "leimor" -- it should be enough to say they sang and va'yomru, here are the words to the song?
The Tiferes Shlomo in many places says a derush on "motza sefasecha tishmor v'asisa ka'aser nadarata."  A person might be moved by some event or some cause and makes a pledge of a korban to the beis ma'kikdash, or in our times makes a gift to the shul or to some charity.  More often than not, between the time of the pledge and the time the person reaches into his/her pocket to write the check, some of that good feeling, that hislahavus, that desire to give, has worn off.  The Torah warns us to be careful -- fulfill your pledge "ka'asher nadarta," with the same intensity of feeling as when you first made it. 
Klal Yisrael wanted to capture the ecstasy of that moment of shirah so it would last forever, so that every time in the future they would sing shirah it would be done the same way.  Va'yomru, they sang the shirah, leimor with such exuberance that it would be said that way again and again for eternity. 
Maybe that's in fact why it's called a shirah.  When a song becomes a hit people listen to it again and again, it seems to never grow stale.  We're still singing the song, hopefully with the same enthusiasm.


  1. I'd appreciate a cite to the TS
    I saw a similar thing from RSZ Auerbach on
    ברוך שומר הבטחתו לישראל, that it means carefully watching and waiting every moment for the time when you can do what you promised, and making sure that nothing will interfere.

    1. Top of page 124 second column in the moadim section

    2. Got it.
      ויאמרו לאמר (שמות טו א) מבואר על פי מה שנתבאר בדרוש שבועות על פסוק (דברים כג כ) מוצא שפתיך תשמור ועשית כאשר נדרת פי' שיהיה באותו החשק והרצון שהיה לו בשעת הנדר וזה גם כן ויבאו אל המקום אשר אמר לו האלהים (בראשית כב ט) שהיה אברהם אבינו באותו החשקות שהיה לו בשעת הדיבור של השם יתברך ולא נפל ממדריגתו כל שלשה ימים מחמת טרדת הדרך וזה גם כן שבקשו בני ישראל ויאמרו לאמור שיאמרו השירה תמיד באותו הבחינה שהיו אז בשעת קריעת ים סוף ובאותו החשק והרצון

  2. "leimor [=] with...exuberance"

    just as a common handmaiden saw what Yechezkel ha'navi did not, so the commonplace word 'leimor' receives here rare elevation

    1. on the one hand, shiras ha'yam, thus understood, seems an answer to the question (posed earlier in the morning service), ma nomar l'fanecha?

      on the other hand, isn't Mechilta's shifcha, enriched at the sea, held captive to the song* men sing "again and again >for eternity<"? isn't she** due to be freed from that captivity? only after she doffs the pearl earring, fixed for millennia to her lobe by song, can she know fresh revelation, fresh song, fresh ecstasy!, at kriyas har zeitim (Zecharya 14:4-- Rashi 14:3, yam suf, and 14:8c, Yo'el 4:18)...

      *that would "capture the ecstasy of that moment"

      **the shifcha of Yo'el, 3:2