Parshat Beshallach: The “Singing” Shabbat

originally published: 2012-02-08

Saturday, Feb. 4

I got up about 05:30, but managed to get back to sleep. I next woke up at about 07:00, and decided that was about right. I showered, dressed, and starting fixing crackers and cheese and a large green salad for shul. I managed to slice myself while cutting up the cheese.I went to shul, and the services were really good. One guy explained how it was the Singing Shabbat – the part in Exodus where the Egyptians are drowned at the parting of the Red Sea, and the Israelites burst into song.

At one point, someone’s phone went off during services. I think the person whose phone it was, was on the other side of the shul for some reason, so it kept going off repeatedly, and no one seemed to know who the phone belonged to. Gaylan, who was sitting next to me, said to me out of the corner of her mouth,

“Maybe it’s G-d calling.”
“Yes,” I replied, “But when He calls, will there be anyone to answer?”

I thought about the concept of Listening, which I’d been thinking about a bit while walking to shul earlier, seeing the black squirrels frolicking between the telephone lines. I don’t know if I believe in guiding totem spirits, in the same way anymore, but squirrels are still special to me, as one of the first ways that He tried to get my attention.

The night before, while tucking Dave in, Dave said to me, “Now that you acknowledge you have an Imaginary Friend, too, will you stop mocking me about mine? The question shocked me. For one thing – I don’t think I mock him about his Faith very often, but moreover I don’t really perceive my own Faith as entirely new. How many times has Robin cradled me while I’ve told him these things keep happening to me? How I can ignore them or engage with them, but it will still go on beyond my control?

He has been trying to get my attention for a very long time – probably my entire life; it’s only recently that I’ve chosen to stop fighting, and to start Listening. To see, perhaps, both the bigger picture, and my own small part in it – to understand the messages being left for me. Maybe the next time He calls, I’ll be able to answer.

After shul, was the Kiddush, and I talked to Reb. Laura very briefly – I wanted to apologize, I felt like I was heckling her a bit at one point, although she said she hadn’t noticed.

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