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the song at the sea of ending one story and beginning another, by Kohenet Ilana Joy Streit (February 2023)

https://opensiddur.org/?p=53168 the song at the sea of ending one story and beginning another, by Kohenet Ilana Joy Streit (February 2023) 2023-10-26 19:39:56 This piece emerged in February 2023 upon realizing that instead of reading <span class="hebrew" lang="he">ים סוף</span> as Yam Suf (generally understood at the Sea of Reeds), it could be read as Yam Sof: Sea of End[ing]. It was apparent to me that we may have approached this sea (escaping from slavery) thinking that it would be the end of us. It was not. But it was the end of *something*. Text the Open Siddur Project Kohenet Ilana Joy Streit Kohenet Ilana Joy Streit https://opensiddur.org/copyright-policy/ Kohenet Ilana Joy Streit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/ Parashat b'Shalaḥ 21st century C.E. 58th century A.M. Prayers as poems English vernacular prayer Yetsiat Mitsrayim safe passage
the song at the sea of ending one story and beginning another
1
Hashem told Moses to raise his staff
We must know that Hashem could have simply parted the waters without that, yes?

2
Hashem wanted the people to understand:
we are doing this together
you have to ask, you have to act

3
It works like this all the time, though:
you have to be open
to receiving directions
to know what action to take
   to open a portal
      to enact or invite a miracle
you have to be willing to hear

never once in school did they explain
(not in my public school in New Jersey)
that if you raise a staff you can move
mountains
   of water
or if you speak to a stone
   water will spring forth
but it is so true

there are little buttons and levers all around
   and in us
but how to know where, when?

4
Miriam
Miriam grew up singing that song
it was born with her
helped to raise her
as a child of freedom, even in slavery

5
מי (as in Mi Chamocha) is
ים backwards

6
The Powerful Breath that Blew and parted
the waters
was the breath of all of the babies that lived
and all the ones who might have died
all of the birth breaths of mothers
   in narrow places, then and now and onward
all of the breaths
   of midwives of time and place
   of midwives of revolutions

7
the sea itself asked to be parted
Hashem could have found another way
we could have found another way

a bridge was discussed but put aside
there was a plan in the works to
transport upon a kind of rainbow
and then of course there were
the eagles in waiting

some of us were contemplating growing wings
others knew we were strong swimmers
   having come out of the water only
   a handful of millions of generations before
some of us intuited that if we entered the sea en masse
unafraid
open
we would once again become sea creatures
and simply live out the rest of our
   story as a people in the sea

but all of the talk of The Land
   swept away those plans
and anyway
   the sea asked to be parted


This piece emerged in February 2023 upon realizing that instead of reading ים סוף as Yam Suf (generally understood at the Sea of Reeds), it could be read as Yam Sof: Sea of End[ing]. It was apparent to me that we may have approached this sea (escaping from slavery) thinking that it would be the end of us. It was not. But it was the end of *something*.

 


 

 

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