Moshe UBnei Yisrael

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Written by:
Rabbi Yehuda Chanales
Access editable doc with student handouts:

ברכה ראשונה

1) Mispar Nochechut. One word describing how you are feeling now.
2) Two sentences: Share a story from an experience where you felt religiously inspired. Give everyone 2 minutes to write down 2-3 sentences then share. (Either everyone or take a few volunteers).
Process- What was similar about our stories? What was different?

לימוד ועבודה פנימית

"אז ישיר משה ובני ישראל"- The Torah describes that the Shirat HaYam was recited by Moshe and the Jewish people. The gemara in Sota brings three different opinions as to how the Jewish people participated in reciting the Shira.

גמרא סוטה דף ל עמוד ב

§ The Sages taught: On that same day Rabbi Akiva taught that at the time that the Jewish people ascended from the split sea they set their eyes on reciting a song of gratitude to God. And how did they recite the song? In the same manner as an adult man reciting hallel on behalf of a congregation, as his reading enables all who hear to fulfill their obligation, and the congregation listening merely recite after him the chapter headings of hallel. So too, by the sea, Moses said: “I will sing unto the Lord” (Exodus 15:1), and the people said after Moses: “I will sing unto the Lord.” Moses continued and said: “For He is highly exalted” (Exodus 15:1), and they said once again the chapter heading: “I will sing unto the Lord.”

Rabbi Eliezer, son of Rabbi Yosei HaGelili, says: The Jewish people sang just like a minor boy reciting hallel and the congregation who hear him repeat after him all that he says, word for word, as hearing the recital of a minor is insufficient for fulfilling one’s obligation. So too, by the sea, Moses said: “I will sing unto the Lord” (Exodus 15:1), and the people said after Moses: “I will sing to the Lord.” Moses said: “For He is highly exalted,” and they said after him the same words: “For He is highly exalted.”

Rabbi Neḥemya says: They sang the song of the sea like a scribe, a cantor, who recites aloud the introductory prayers and blessings before Shema in the synagogue; as he begins by saying the first words of the blessing, and they repeat after him the initial words and continue reciting the rest of Shema together with him in unison. So too, in the song of the sea, Moses began and then everyone recited the entire song together with him.

תנו רבנן בו ביום דרש רבי עקיבא בשעה שעלו ישראל מן הים נתנו עיניהם לומר שירה וכיצד אמרו שירה

כגדול המקרא את הלל והן עונין אחריו ראשי פרקים משה אמר אשירה לה׳ והן אומרים אשירה לה׳ משה אמר כי גאה גאה והן אומרים אשירה לה׳

רבי אליעזר בנו של רבי יוסי הגלילי אומר כקטן המקרא את הלל והן עונין אחריו כל מה שהוא אומר משה אמר אשירה לה׳ והן אומרים אשירה לה׳ משה אמר כי גאה גאה והן אומרים כי גאה גאה

רבי נחמיה אומר כסופר הפורס על שמע בבית הכנסת שהוא פותח תחילה והן עונין אחריו

1 - R’ Akiva: Allow yourself to be inspired by the gadlut/model/teacher of Moshe Rabbeinu, attach yourself to his words and his experience.

2 - R’ Eliezer: Mimic the gadol/role model/teacher. By copying their actions or words you end up appreciating the experience on your own but in a deeper way. You latch on to the depth of their experience and try to mimic it – perhaps translating it to your own experience.

3-  Allow the gadol/role model/teacher to open but once they start everyone jointly contributes to the experience. Moshe’s role is to draw out the experience and expression of the people. He just needs to get them started but they have what to share.]

 What does each opinion say? What role did Moshe play and what role did the Jewish people play according to each opinion?

  1. If you were at ים סוף, just witnessing the miraculous events, which opinion do you think best encapsulates how you would have responded? Why?
  2. What do you think is behind the different opinions? What different models do they suggest for how we process or learn from new spiritual/religious experiences?
  3. When thinking about your own moments of inspiration and religious growth, which model resonates most? Why do you think it speaks to you?
  4. Which model do you think your children experience most? Which do you think they need (could be different for different children)?
  5. What could designing a different kind of experience look like in your home?

ברכה אחרונה

  • Place your beracha achrona here
  • You can have one or multiple suggestions

Notes to the teacher

  • This is the place to make suggestions to the teacher of different ways they may choose to facilitate this limmud
  • Or particular grade levels or sensitivities to take into account
  • Or anything else you think is important for the teacher to know

עבודת המורה

  • This is the place to raise some questions that make sure the teacher tests the limmud on themselves or others
  • Could be a general question like - which part of the limmud resonated most for you? Which question was the hardest for you to answer?
  • Or questions anticipating students’ responses- What do you think students will say for X or Y? To what extent are you open to being surprised?
Download with student handouts:
Please help others by sharing how you used the resource, how you adapted it (link to your own version!) and what worked more or less well. You can also post questions that Lifnai Vlifnim staff or community members will try to respond to.

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