שְׁמוֹת / shemos / shemot / Exodus 13:17-17:16
What do you pack to take with you when you’re running for your life?
If you asked your wife, she’d say to bring warm clothing, an extra shirt;
Maybe pack up some bread, some plates and spoons, a good sharp cutting knife.
And in that case, too, to stop any strife, some dish soap couldn’t hurt.
You’re going to the hot, dry desert that leads to the Promised Land,
Not knowing at all what’s been planned or what troubles might arise;
Pack an extra robe for the nights, an extra pillow for the sand
You wonder if there’s room in your hand for nets to keep off the flies.
There’s no way that can you take it all – really, you have to run!
So those lovely little weavings you’ve spun all must stay behind.
Even though you hate to leave your things, each and every precious one,
A lifetime’s worth of memories done; your hopes and dreams intertwined.
So take a blanket; it might get cold, walking out there in the dark,
Take your children, yes, and just like the ark, bring your animals, too.
Hurry up, it’s time to leave now; our mission must really embark:
We’re out of space! Leave that stuff in the park! There’s only room for you!
What’s that you’ve stuffed out of sight there, down deep inside your pack?
Tambourines? Toss them out on the stack: such a foolish load!
You’re wasting space we need instead for jewels, gold or a snack.
Stop a second and think what we lack for this long, dreary road.
Well, that’s what they might have said to you for bringing them along.
“Can’t you see we’re not strong? And why would we be dancing anyhow?
We’re fleeing our land – or didn’t you know? There’s no time for a song.
We’re a sad, frightened throng. And tambourines? What use are they to us now?”
Of all the Jews, only Miriam knew just what they’d surely need;
Saw Hashem’s every saving deed and believed in His victory.
And at the moment that His great plan would ultimately succeed,
Their music would be freed, joyful praise proceed, dancing alongside the sea!