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Foresight = Action

Thursday, 2 February, 2012 - 9:00 am

After the Splitting of the Sea the newborn Jewish nation wanted to thank G-d for the great miracle and salvation. So they sang a song of praise, now famous as a part of our daily prayers known as Az Yashir. But the women were not satisfied with mere poetry and melody.  They felt that G-d deserved a true expression of exuberance. So they took their musical instruments and began to truly praise the L-rd in musical dance. As this week’s parsha Beshalach tells:

Miriam, the prophetess, Aaron's sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women came out after her with timbrels and with dances.

Where did the women get tambourines in middle of the desert?

According to the Midrash, “The righteous women of that generation were so certain that the Holy One, blessed be He, would perform miracles for them, they took timbrels out of Egypt.” Talk about putting your money where your mouth is. They believed and they acted upon it.

To me, the critical virtue of these women is not as much that they believed, but that they were able to act upon it – even during dark times. Their imminent redemption was not a matter of faith, hope or conviction. It was a matter of practice.


Many are the great Jews who maintained their faith during the pogroms of Europe, the devastation of the Holocaust and the resettling in the “goldeneh medinah.” Many went on to preach the value of Judaism in the new country, the dangers of assimilation and the indispensability of our tradition.

But one post-Holocaust leader acted differently. Rather than write op-eds, develop strategic plans or form committees, he fearlessly forged ahead. One more Jew, one more mitzvah.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe’s mitzvah campaigns were ridiculed as being cute, but not addressing the real needs of Jews in the modern world. Others were harsher in their criticism of ancient rituals.

But, within the ashes, the Rebbe did not only believe in the great daylight ahead. He did not only hope for a better day. He did not only plan for a better day. He acted for a better day. He mobilized the greatest renaissance of Jewish tradition, simply by caring about each and every Jew.

This week we celebrate 62 years of his leadership, forging ahead towards Moshiach.

And following the Rebbe’s lead, let’s find one more Jew and do one more mitzvah.

And let’s grab our tambourines as we prepare to celebrate the miracles of G-d’s final redemption.

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