The sages of the Jewish tradition say that: “In all generations every person is obliged to consider themselves as if they had come out of Egypt”, and the Passover holiday is the commemoration of this “passage” towards freedom. In addition to traditional Jewish belief, Christians emphasize this liberation with the passage from the earthly life of Jesus to the heavenly one. Therefore, both the traditions celebrate the liberation from slavery, whether physical or moral, the will that exists in every believer to emerge above all that inhibits the soul. Whether it is physical, psychological or spiritual limitations imposed by one’s own nature, by an external force, or by simple habit, it is very important for man and woman to remember the story of Exodus, and the Song of the Sea to strengthen their hope for a better future for everybody.
Egypt: Physical and moral slavery
The Hebrew word for Egypt is מצרים mitzrayim (Arabic مصر, Miṣr) and means ” boundaries” but also ” oppression”. Within the Torah “Egypt” is the Hebrew and Aramaic name to denote both the land but also the condition of slavery. We find at least 13 references in the Torah to Egypt מצרים (mitzrayim) as a place of oppression (Exodus 13, 3 ; Exodus 13, 14 ; Exodus 20, 2 ; Deuteronomy 5, 6 ; Deuteronomy 6, 12 ; Deuteronomy 7, 8 ; Deuteronomy 8, 14 ; Deuteronomy 13, 6 ; Deuteronomy 13, 11 ; Joshua 24, 17 ; Judges 6, 8 ; Jeremiah 34, 13 & Micah 6, 4), while the similar term מצור (masor) seems to have been a poetic nickname that was used to indicate the land itself (Isaiah 19, 6 ; 2Kings 19, 24 ; Isaiah 37, 25 & Micah 7, 12). The noun מצור (masor) means siege, and derives from the verb צור (tzur) ligare. Another derivation of this same verb is the noun מצורה, stronghold, and this, or a walled city can be a means of protection during the early stages of a war, but turns into a lethal trap if a siege lasts long. A fine figurative use of this word can be found in Psalm 31, 21 where the author compares his troubles to a siege.
In the Bible, therefore, Egypt is not only the physical place, but also that condition of oppression to which the people were forced to live. Even today one cannot consider oneself free just because one does not have chains on one’s wrists, because freedom means to feel sure to profess one’s faith, expressing this freedom by living in a society that gives everyone an opportunity to be better.
During the Easter time, believers try to break the time barrier by reliving the story of the Exodus and identifying themselves as if they themselves had left the afflicted state of slavery in Egypt. Remembering how much evil one has endured helps both to live the present better and to idealize a better future for all. The Jewish Passover is a feast that lasts eight days, the first days are mainly focused on the first liberation from Egypt, while the closing days highlight the redemption and the final “passage”, that is, the next era that everyone is waiting for that Messianic of Love and perfection announced by the Messiah.
In the Hebrew liturgy on the seventh day of Easter we read the “Song of the Sea” which contains an important allusion to the Messianic Age, while on the eighth day the haftarah (the reading of the Prophets) is taken from the Book of Isaiah 10, 32 & 12, 6 one of the main prophecies about the future redemption.
The Song of the Sea
The Song of the Sea (in Hebrew: שירת, Shirat HaYam, also known as Az Yashir Moshe and Song of Moses, or Mi Chamocha) is a poem that appears in the Book of Exodus of the Bible (Ex 15, 1-18). It is followed by verses 20 and 21 by a much shorter song sung by Miriam and other women. The Song of the Sea was presumably sung by the Israelites after crossing the Red Sea unharmed, celebrating the defeat of the Egyptian army during the crossing and looking forward to the future conquest of the promised land of Canaan.
The poem is included in Jewish prayer books, and recited every day during morning shacharit services. The poem also includes the first ode or hymn of the Eastern Orthodox canon, where it is known as the Song or Ode of Moses. It is also used in Roman Catholic liturgy, Eastern Orthodox and other Christian liturgies at the Easter Vigil, when the story of salvation is told. These traditions follow Revelation 15, 3 calling it the Canticle of Moses (not to be confused with the Canticle of Moses in Deuteronomy).
|Masoretic Text||English translation|
|אָ֣ז יָשִֽׁיר־מֹשֶׁה֩ וּבְנֵ֨י יִשְׂרָאֵ֜ל אֶת־הַשִּׁירָ֤ה הַזֹּאת֙ לַֽיהוָ֔ה וַיֹּאמְר֖וּ לֵאמֹ֑ר אָשִׁ֤ירָה לַֽיהוָה֙ כִּֽי־גָאֹ֣ה גָּאָ֔ה ס֥וּס וְרֹכְבֹ֖ו רָמָ֥ה בַיָּֽם
עָזִּ֤י וְזִמְרָת֙ יָ֔הּ וַֽיְהִי־לִ֖י לִֽישׁוּעָ֑ה זֶ֤ה אֵלִי֙ וְאַנְוֵ֔הוּ אֱלֹהֵ֥י אָבִ֖י וַאֲרֹמְמֶֽנְהוּ
וּבְרֹ֥ב גְּאֹונְךָ֖ תַּהֲרֹ֣ס קָמֶ֑יךָ תְּשַׁלַּח֙ חֲרֹ֣נְךָ֔ יֹאכְלֵ֖מֹו כַּקַּֽשׁ
נָטִ֙יתָ֙ יְמִ֣ינְךָ֔ תִּבְלָעֵ֖מֹו אָֽרֶץ
יְהוָ֥ה ׀ יִמְלֹ֖ךְ לְעֹלָ֥ם וָעֶֽד
כִּ֣י בָא֩ ס֨וּס פַּרְעֹ֜ה בְּרִכְבֹּ֤ו וּבְפָרָשָׁיו֙ בַּיָּ֔ם וַיָּ֧שֶׁב יְהוָ֛ה עֲלֵהֶ֖ם אֶת־מֵ֣י הַיָּ֑ם וּבְנֵ֧י יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל הָלְכ֥וּ בַיַּבָּשָׁ֖ה בְּתֹ֥וךְ הַיָּֽם
|1 Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD:
“I will sing to the LORD,
2 “The LORD is my strength and my defense;
7 “In the greatness of your majesty
12 “You stretch out your right hand,
18 “The LORD reigns
19 When Pharaoh’s horses, chariots and horsemen went into the sea, the LORD brought the waters of the sea back over them, but the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground.
20 Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing.
21 Miriam sang to them:
Sing to the LORD,
To remember and relive history correspond to impress in our Spirit what happened to avoid the same mistakes in the present and increase hope in the future making real an event that we all hope will come: Messianic Era. The Era of Peace corresponds to the final redemption for the sufferings of all, but only those who work positively in the present will be able to be part of it in the future. Positivity generates other positivity, if we keep positive thoughts these will soon become our words, and when words are transformed into our behavior we begin to positively influence our lives (present) and our future. This is the free will that GOD grants us, choosing between positive (good) and negative (evil).