For the week ending 28 January 2023 / 6 Shevat 5783

Perek Shira: The Song of the Frog

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The frog says:

“Blessed be the name of His glorious kingdom forever and ever.”

King David once walked along the riverbank and exclaimed, “Master of the Universe, is there anyone in the world who thanks and praises his Master as much as I do?” He encountered a frog. It said to him, “Don’t be haughty, because I exceed you! I gave up my life for the will of my Master when I jumped into the ovens of Egypt to putrefy the Egyptians’ bread. Moreover, I praise Him day and night, without silence!”

When the frog leapt into the Egyptian ovens, it declared that even its very life was an insufficient expression of Hashem’s eternal praise. With its unremitting croaking, the frog proclaims that Hashem’s name should be blessed forever since there is no end to His praise. Thus, the frog sings, “Blessed be the name of His glorious kingdom forever and ever.”

We may suggest further that the frog’s leap symbolizes the leap of faith that is necessary in order to decide to perform Hashem’s will when logical steps that lead to that decision are not entirely clear. Although we may not be challenged to give up our lives as did the frogs in Egypt, sometimes making the right choice involves suffering great discomfort or financial loss, and only a frog-leap of faith can get us through. Like a ship that sails through dense fog relies blindly on its navigational calculations, we have try our best to perform Hashem’s will to the best of our knowledge, and to leave the rest to Him. Even after a decision, confusion may persist, but this is part of the trial. Trials which truly challenge a person’s nature are the ones that accord him the greatest reward and enhancement of character. Unconditional faithfulness to Hashem is one of the greatest forms of praise, and it finds expression in the frog’s unceasing blessing of Hashem’s kingship.

A Jew may aim with deliberation, but he leaps with confident faith. And wherever he lands, he lives with song.

  • Sources: Zohar (Pinchas 232b); Malbim; BiShmi V’lichvodi Berasiv; Perek B’Shir

*In loving memory of Harav Zeev Shlomo ben Zecharia Leib

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