Although we’ve put up bird feeders before, this year we’re doing it in time with the tradition of Shabbat Shira–the Sabbath of song. It’s called such due to the portion of scripture that is traditionally read this week, the Hebrews have just crossed the Red Sea and escaped the Egyptian forces. Standing on the other side of a multitude of great miracles Moses leads them in song.
Exodus 15:1 Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
To celebrate, a custom of feeding the birds has come to be, one that remembers the smallest creatures at what can be the coldest and least providential time of the year. Generally we get the urge to do so when it is so miserable outside anyway, but what a neat encouragement.
I doubt it was this chilly as the Israelites escaped Pharoah, but imagining the wonder and enthusiasm they must have had and the spiritual renewal they must have felt when they spontaneously all joined in song–it’s hard not to well up with emotion just imagining their joy. Birds can’t keep from singing either…
Exodus 15:20-21 And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
So, we’ve been making bird feeders. Out of bagels, out of milk jugs and out of grapefruit rinds to be ready for the flocks (they’re already coming)…won’t you join us in feeding the birds?