Dancing 2: Forgiveness
“Miriam, the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took her drum in her hand and all the women went forth after her with drums and dances – mecholot.” (Exodus 15:20) How did the women have musical instruments? Rashi explains that the women understood that if God had performed such great miracles in Egypt that they could expect more miracles on their journey in the desert. So, they took musical instruments with them to be prepared to sing God’s praises. No wonder their dance is described as mecholot which also means forgiveness, as in mechila.
Their dance was repeated by young women each Yom Kippur and Tu B’Av, the 15th of Av and will be copied in the World To Come by all the righteous: Ulla Bira’ah said in the name of R. Eleazar: In the days to come the Holy One, blessed be He, will hold a chorus for the righteous and He will sit in their midst in the Garden of Eden and every one of them will point with his finger towards Him, as it is said, And it shall be said in that day: Lo, this is our God, for whom we waited, that He might save us; this is the Lord for whom we waited, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.(Ta’anit 31a)
Those who see life through the eyes of expectation, as did Miriam and her dancing women, will be privileged, having been forgiven for their mistakes, to dance in the World To Come.
Elul is a month of expectation: The Children of Israel were filled with the expectation that Moshe would return from his third trip up Mt. Sinai with the Second Tablets. They would be forgiven for their dances, mecholot around the Golden Calf.
We blow the Shofar each day of Elul filled with expectation of the magic of the Rosh Hashana Shofar.
We prepare throughout Elul for the Judgment of Rosh Hashana, thrilled with the expectation of God’s Coronation as King.
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