adapted from Meta-Parshiyot by R David Wolfe-Blank and The Living Torah by R Aryeh Kaplan

by Barbara Mendes


This parashah fills me with a sense of mystery. Not only is this Shabbat Shirah, but the potent mysterious Name of 72 (triads) is derived from three verses within B’Shalah.


A miracle happened on Thursday. I have been praying for a Torah to deepen davvenen at Holistic Jew. Someone leaving town no longer needs their Torah, many are available where they are going. They had to act fast, and as a result the Torah was delivered immediately and graciously. There are details that need be worked out, and it is very exciting. B”H.



The route from Mitzrayim to the Yam Suf was an indirect one by Divine design. Yoseph‘s remains left Mitzrayim honoring the oath made to Yoseph. Havayah‘s Presence was palpable amongst the Yisrael community, leading the people by day with a pillar of cloud and by night with a pillar of fire.

The Hebrews camp between Migdal (Tower) and the sea. Pharaoh‘s heart was hardened again and he regretted allowing the slaves to leave. He gathered 600 chariots and skilled cavalry to pursue the Hebrew slaves on the run. When the Hebrews saw so very many chariots coming at them they feared for their lives and cried out to Havayah, “It would be better to be slaves in Mitzrayim than die here.”


Havayah instructs Moshe to extend his hand over the sea. When he does a potent primordial wind comes forward. It blows and blows and blows eventually transforming sea bed to dry land. The Hebrews are able to pass through.

Pharaoh and his chariots were close behind them. Havayah delayed the cavalry with a pillar of fire and a pillar of cloud. Their chariot wheels became bogged down and they could not move much.

Next, Havayah instructs Moshe to extend his hand over the sea another time. The water in the sea returned to its normal initial condition. All the Mitzrim and their cavalry drowned.


Imagine the deep release, rush of gratitude, and joy when the powerful cavalry that intended to capture drowned in the sea. It is a transformative moment for the former slaves. (Even though the thought of anyone drowning is sad. )This potent moment is recounted every day in the morning prayer service (Shahareet). It is the touchstone moment when the Hebrews become a free people.

The Hebrews rejoice. Moshe sings a song. Then, Miriam sings a song. They celebrate freedom and redemption with song and dance.

Not only that, next, Manna is provided for daily nourishment, so the people were fed and did not need to hunt or gather during their time in the wilderness. Even more, the gift of taking pause on Shabbat was introduced to the former slaves. Imagine the gift of being mandated to rest one day out of seven after being slaves full time for generations.


NAME OF 72 (triads)

This is biggest miracle in Torah, according to (many) Kabbalists. Jewish mystical traditions form the mysterious and powerful Divine Name of 72 (triads) with three verses that precede the splitting of the sea.

Here are the verses from Torah:

וַיִּסַּע מַלְאַךְ הָאֱלֹהִים, הַהֹלֵךְ לִפְנֵי מַחֲנֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל, וַיֵּלֶךְ, מֵאַחֲרֵיהֶם; וַיִּסַּע עַמּוּד הֶעָנָן, מִפְּנֵיהֶם, וַיַּעֲמֹד, מֵאַחֲרֵיהֶם

וַיָּבֹא בֵּין מַחֲנֵה מִצְרַיִם, וּבֵין מַחֲנֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל, וַיְהִי הֶעָנָן וְהַחֹשֶׁךְ, וַיָּאֶר אֶת-הַלָּיְלָה; וְלֹא-קָרַב זֶה אֶל-זֶה, כָּל-הַלָּיְלָה.

וַיָּבֹא בֵּין מַחֲנֵה מִצְרַיִם, וּבֵין מַחֲנֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל, וַיְהִי הֶעָנָן וְהַחֹשֶׁךְ, וַיָּאֶר אֶת-הַלָּיְלָה; וְלֹא-קָרַב זֶה אֶל-זֶה, כָּל-הַלָּיְלָה.

19) Malakh haElokim (The Elokim’s angel) that had been traveling in front of the Yisrael camp, went behind them. The pillar of cloud thus moved from in front of them and stood behind them. 20) It came between the Mitzraim Camp and the Yisrael camp. The cloud and darkness illuminated the night. One did not approach the other all night. 21)Moshe extended his hand over the sea. During the entire night, Havayah drove back the sea with a powerful primordial wind transforming the seabed into dry land. The waters divided.


Exodus Chap 14 vs 19-21

Each triad is made up of one letter from each verse. The first triad starts with the first letter of the first verse, the final letter of the second verse, and the first letter of the third verse. והו Next, consider the second triad. It starts with the second letter of the first verse, the second to last letter of the second verse, and second letter of the third verse. ילי It continues in this way. It is used many ways included in prayer.


It is interesting to notice this forward – reverse – forward movement reflected in the Divine Name and in the movement of the Malakh (Angel) HaElokim in these verses are similar – forward, reverse, forward. It is like rubbing to comfort a pain or to clean an area – it initiates a change.


A mighty wind formed by Malakh haElokim that split the sea. It discriminated exactly on who, where, what, and how powerfully it was blowing. This precise wind was powerful, yet modulated its power. This precision points to G’vurah. The people have left Mitzrayim and initiated life with compassion (Tiferet).

G’vurah relates to the boundaries The Holy One of Blessing set to protect Bnay Yisrael – the pillar of cloud and fire. Tiferet points to the compassion bestowed to the newly freed slaves by the Holy One of Blessing by this rescue. G’vurah in Tiferet, Boundaries within Compassion.

In the three verses above there are 72 (חסד) letters. The three verses that form the Divine Name m use a total of 216 letters. G’vurah [גבורה (3+2+6+200+5) ] in gematria is 216. G’vurah within Tiferet

Have a blessed Shabbat Shirah. Tu B’Shvat is coming and its always close to this mysterious and powerful Torah portion. It marks a shift in the local cosmos. More on that soon, GodWilling. Good Shabbes.

Holistic Jew