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  • Writer's pictureRabbi Yonah Burr

Beshalach: Singing the Song of the Future

אז ישיר משה ובני ישראל את השירה הזאת לד'
Then Moshe and the Children of Israel chose to sing this song to Hashem

The conundrum of the word ישיר is not easily explained. At first glance, it appears to suggest that the children of Israel sang. Yet, the presence of the letter "yud" before the word ישיר gives it the future tense and implies something yet to come.

The translation used above endeavors to capture this subtle nuance by stating they "chose to sing." Rashi further clarifies that the "yud" in future tense indicates that they entertained the notion of singing before actually doing so. He cites other examples where the future tense "yud" signifies that a person had an idea and then brought it to fruition.

However, Rashi also uncovers a deeper meaning, as our Sages teach that the future tense in this instance foreshadows the future resurrection. The verse informs us that in the world to come, the Jewish people will sing once more!

Thus, on a simple level, the verse means they had the thought to sing. At a deeper level, it implies the future of the world to come.

Rav Shimon Schwab saw a correlation between these two interpretations. He explained that when a Jew has the idea to perform a mitzvah, that thought alone is already a mitzvah! The mere act of considering serving Hashem creates a sacred bond with the divine that lasts forever.

Rav Chaim Volozhener in his writings often compared a person's mind to the Holy of Holies in the Beis HaMikdash. Maintaining thoughts of Torah sanctifies the higher realms, while impure thoughts defile them, G-d forbid.

The act of contemplating the performance of a mitzvah grants a person a portion of the world to come and allows them, at that moment, to actually experience the spiritual purity of that world!

May we always strive to serve Hashem with all of our being and savor the sweetness of Torah and mitzvos, a true taste of the world to come. Wishing you a sublime and wonderful Shabbos!

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