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Dvar Torah: Parshat Shemini

Tomorrow morning we should read the story of the crossing of the Red Sea. While, sadly, out Shule's beautiful sanctuary will again be filled with the sound of silence, in our houses and in our families we can still draw inspiration from that story. In our houses, we can still have noise and song. 

The Jews crossed the Red Sea long ago, together. And when they reached the other side and saw that every one for them was saved, they burst spontaneously into songs of praise for G-d. Not only was it a profoundly spiritual moment, it was also a deeply communal one. Our ancestors didn't work to create these bonds, they were forged out of hundreds of years of shared experiences, good and bad, and they led to truly united action. 

But that was not the end of Jewish unity at the Red Sea. Our Rabbis tell us that thee Jews at the sea saw things even more wondrous than in the visions of the prophets. In addition to everything they experienced, and everything they did together, they all had the same revelation. Each person understood it in his or her own way, but they all got the same basic communication from G-d.

In our time, we have learnt a new, and deeper meaning which lies behind this concept. It is usually understood as touting the depth of the spiritual experience which was the Exodus from Egypt, and that is true. However, it is also the case that had the Jews not been united, not been of one spirit in the first place, they would not have been able to achieve such heights. Today, we are physically separate, and this is never more noticeable than on Shabbat and Yom Tov when we cannot even contact each other. However, spiritually, we are very much together. We are still one community, one nation, as long as we want to be and as long as we make it so. 

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