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Jan 17, 2008

Shabbos segula, Shabbos shira

This shabbos is famously known as Shabbos Shira. This is because we read the Shiras Ha'Yam, the song of praise Israel sang after the splitting of the sea, in this week's Torah portion.

There is more happening this shabbos. It was a jam packed week and is a jam packed shabbos.

Not only do we read this week the Shiras Ha'Yam, but we also read the Parshas Ha'Man. That is the portion describing how Hashem began giving the manna to the Jews in the desert. This past Tuesday was considered a special day to read the portion of the Parshas Ha'Man and is, in tradition, considered a segula for one's livelihood.

In actuality, the portion is beneficial to be read every day, but Tuesday of Shabbos SHira is ocnsidered especially "seguladic".

The segula of it is that if you read it and consider what the real source of our sustenance is, from Hashem and not from our own efforts (though those are necessary), than Hashem will, hopefully, reward us with increased sustenance.

So on Tuesday we had the manna, on Shabbos we have the shira, and there is one more.

This shabbos there is the custom of feeding the birds with bread crumbs. The reason for this is two-fold, connected to the manna and connected to the shira.

One reason is because when Hashem first gave the manna, and on Friday the Jews were told to collect double portions as the manna would not fall on shabbos itself. When some decided to make trouble and put manna back out on Friday night so when everyone would wake up shabbos morning and see the manna outside they would think Moshe was wrong and it did fall on shabbos, the birds came to save the day. The birds came and ate the manna and the plot was foiled.

As thanks to them, this shabbos, on the portion of the giving of the manna, we put out bread for the birds.

The second connection is the birds speak in song. Song is considered the realm of birds. Ever hear the phrase "She sings like a bird"? So on this shabbos, when we use the tool of the birds, we sing the praise of Hashem for splitting the sea and saving us, we thank the birds for allowing us their tool, and we put out bread for them.

I remember growing up that we would put out the bread crumbs for the birds on shabbos. Only much later did I learn that many say that one should preferably put the bread out on Friday, as it is prohibited to feed wild birds on shabbos. One can only feed on shabbos pets that are in your own possession.

However, the custom still stands and some people say this is the exception. So some put the bread out on Friday, and some put the bread out on shabbos. If you wish to put out bread as per the custom and are unsure of what to do (Friday or shabbos), ask your local Rabbi for advice as to the best way of dealing with this custom.


  1. did you just make up that word "seguladic?

  2. as a matter of fact I did. I was looking for a good word and could not find it. So I made one up

  3. I always wondered about reading parshat Ha-man (as opposed to parshat Haman, which isn't for a few more months, though I suppose "va-yavo amalek" may count to some degree) on Tuesday, especially since there is also the custom to read it Shnayim Mikrah V'Echad Targum (SMVT). The way many people break up the aliyot for SMVT, (i.e., reading rishon on Shabbat afternoon, sheini on Sunday, etc., finishing Shvi'i before the next shabbos), parshat Ha-man falls out on Wednesday. If would be much neater if we wouldn't have to mess with the order or repeat a day.



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