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At the Sea: A Meditation before "Mi Chamocha"

By Rabbi Leila Gal Berner

Moses, our brother, led us, the men, out of Egypt.
Miriam, our sister, guided the women
from that narrow, constricting place.

We were afraid.
Nachshon, our bold brother, leaped into the Sea
and we followed, fear still with us, but losing its grip.
The waters parted and we rushed to freedom.

On the other side, Moses, our stuttering brother,
sang a song of freedom, his tongue gliding along the words,
no stutter now, only smooth, silky, strong, sparkling Song.

In Egypt, our manhood disappeared,
In the wilderness, in burning bush
and bramble thicket and desert brush,
we became proud men once more.

In Egypt, our womanhood was abused,
In the wilderness, Miriam's well sustained us,
We gave birth to children, born into freedom,
In the desert, we became proud women once more.

In Egypt, our courage disappeared;
At the Sea, in the waters, in our
frantic swim-wade-walk-run
across the water's bed,
we became brave once more.

And so we sang until our lungs filled
with the breath of the bold,
with the spirit of the free.

And so we sang until our words flowed into chant,
until our chant merged into rhythm,
until our rhythm blended into dance.

And Miriam, our sister,
took her timbrel out
and all the women danced.

At the Sea, we were men again,
At the Sea, we were women again,
At the Sea, we were people again
filled with the plenitude of Freedom.