B'shallach: Miriam's Song -- Now & Equal

 This week is Shabbat Shira – the Sabbath of song, of poetry. It is thus named because the weekly Torah reading contains Shirat Hayam, the song sung in exultation after the miraculous parting of the Sea of Reeds. In truth, though, there are two songs sung. One by Moses and the other by Miriam.


The 18th century Hassidic writer the Meor V''Shemesh shares a powerful paradigm shifting commentary that contrasts these two songs.

He bases his writings on the Kabbalistic principles of linear verses circular consciousness. According to Kabbalah, line consciousness is essentially masculine. It is hierarchical, progress-oriented, future-directed, competitive; the epitome of the world''s current state of affairs. Line consciousness correlates with Moses'' song, rendered in the future tense of the opening lines to the song, “Az Yashir – I will sing”.


Circle consciousness, on the other hand, is egalitarian, rooted in the present, supportive, non-hierarchical. It is a feminine paradigm. And more than that, it epitomizes Messianic consciousness, the glowing state of affairs towards which our world evolves. Miriam''s song, in keeping with good circle consciousness, is thus sung in the present tense with women dancing in circular form. Each woman stands equidistant from the center, all with equal access to God. In the circle everyone is holy and wholly rooted in their own source of wisdom. These circle-enacting women, according to the Meor V''shemesh, were able to access a higher revelation than Moses, history''s greatest prophet.


We live in promising times where fundamentals of circle consciousness are at the core of the work that so many of us are engaged in today. I have the honor of leading weekly women''s circles here in Jerusalem. Our meetings are based on a model of group work culled directly from what I call, “The Miriam Code” - the enigmatic 2 verses of Miriam''s song and dance from this week''s parsha. We strive to create a safe and sacred environment for growth by using the circle principles of full embodiment, presence, inclusivity, creativity and a pervasive sense of equality. It is deep and powerful work. (To read more about the Miriam Code please go to: http://www.havayah.com/tools.html)


I bless us all that we may each in our own way taste the fruits of circle consciousness flooding into and rounding out the angles of our all-too-linear world.




What Miriam Sang


Women raise your voices

in rightful raucous


Beat drum, sing song

and stun anyone

who ever called

you too timid

to sing


For the Spirit alone

instructs your lips and

limbs as to the allowance

of their bend


and propriety is defined by

the prophetess

who abides within


for she will be the one to pull the covers

of your tresses

to dress her modest

as she launches

into her loudest campaign

for you to stand and dance majestic

on this well-sanded stage


sisters, this is why we wear our drums

ready on our shoulder blades


to seize this moment at the sea

that it may become a fable famous

and decree

for as long as history

needs a precedent

to utter unabashed

riffs of praise


here we are held

responsible to sing

of the God-drenched things

we have seen


and we will whirl castles out of sand

with our dance





for we handmaids

have a mandate to hand-make

our own music,

to move muscles

and meet quotas

of creative output

through inspiration

and through struggle


to sway on sand-dunes

undone by a tune


to be emboldened

in our God-given right

to self-expression


and let us ignite eachother''s

dormant scorch of dreams and vision


for the secret encoded

in our circular chorus

will speak for generations

of a new paradigm of being


of how to be connected and conscious

even amidst conflict

with a promise of resolution

through attunement

to the circle of life

to which we are all enchained


and our dance will

evoke an approaching era

when the ailments

born of institution & competition

will dissolve into

a thick colloidal solvent

of equality


and common dignity

for all will incorporate

regardless of position

on the no-longer existent ladder

of hierarchy


our circle will model

what it is to be fully embodied in the present

a servant to the womb of the Moment


with no future tense

impending & impeding

the flowing rhythm of our spin


here we are free

from the hamperings of

will-be''s or has-beens


Temporality is our temple

in this circle

where all is ample

and transparent


ours, a choreography

of equality


of bringing all-of-me

into this welcoming crucible of

communal commitment

known as a circle


here we offer limb to reach beyond

the limitations

of a linear world gone wrong


here we are egalitarian

and elegant


and penetrant


embodying ideas

and idealizing emotion

invoking insight

at the lips of the ocean


holding up mirrors

like the windows of waves

-reflecting each other

face to effervescent face


and so it was, is and will be

in one graceful gesture

at the parting sea

that the women set out with clapping feet

to circle in a consciousness

of present tense

and equality