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A Splitting Sea, and a Splitting Emotion

Moadim L’simcha!

This Shabbos does not have its own Parsha, because it is part of Pesach. Instead, we read about splitting of the Sea of Reeds, which occurred on the seventh day when the Jews were freed from Egypt. We read the famous song, Az Yashir, that the Jews sang to celebrate their escape from the Egyptians and the death of their tormentors.

However, the day is not one of pure celebration. We only sing the half Hallel, instead of the full version commonly sung on holidays. This custom is based on the Midrash which teaches us that when the splitting of the sea occurred, the angels started to sing the praises of Hashem. Hashem reproved them “my sons are drowning in the sea and you want to sing praises?”

It is instructive to note the dichotomy between the reaction to the Jews singing Hashem’s praises and the angels attempting to do so. The Jews song was not only allowable but is considered so important that it is part of our daily prayers to this very day. Although the Jews and the an

gels witnessed the same event, the appropriate reaction was different because of the different ways they related to it: the Jews, as those who were saved were supposed to sing and the angels, as bystanders, were supposed to also recognize the pain of the Egyptians dying.

This dichotomy occurs frequently in life. One person’s exciting promotion is another’s disappointment at being passed over for the promotion. One’s joyous wedding is another’s fear that she will be always a bridesmaid but never a bride. In those situations we often respond by either focusing on our own emotion and resenting those with a contrasting view or not allowing ourselves joy or sorrow in an attempt to be sensitive to the other person. Instead let us learn a lesson and allow each person to fully experience their own emotions without resentment or repression.

Wishing you a joyous rest of your Pesach. Have a good Shabbos and a Chag Sameach.

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