Our Life Transcribed Into Song?

I am so happy Sefira is over – is everyone with me on this – I just can’t survive without my music.  Something about my soul needs its melodies.  I think it is partly genetic.  My father lived his whole life as if it was one amazing song.  At this point in his life, talking is a huge effort and he tries to avoid it.  I was in his room last week and, without realizing, singing again.  And then I noticed my father was singing along with me.  The song, “Chasday Hashem Ke Los Samoo – the kindness of G-d never ceases, for never used up is His mercy…”  Talking might be a burden, but never singing for my father.

 I read a fascinating account of a boy hit by a terrorist projectile who sustained injury in the part of his brain related to speech.  And yet he sings beautifully, for the brain section  storing song is elsewhere than the brain section that stores speech.  Two different entities entirely.  {An interesting aside, there is a fascinating way of curing stutterers by having them sing their words instead of speak them.}

 I digress onto one of my pet subjects – the concept of waves.  Sound is a wave.  It exists.  It passes by you and continues into the great beyond, to be heard again, perhaps, as an echo.  Or to travel even beyond that.  I, in my spiritual abstract reasoning, have figured all those sound waves are wafting and are there to be heard by those sensitive enough to hear it.  My father used to explain to us the difference between a shortwave radio and a regular am/fm one you get in a discount store is that the shortwave radio has finely tuned insides that let it catch radio signals from even as far as Sweden.  People’s souls are that way too.  The more finely tuned your soul, the more of the esoteric and the more of the spiritual messages floating in our world will you get to hear.

 Yet, some sounds are so universally pure even those not finely tuned will “get it” when hearing it.  One of my gals walked down to the Chuppah to the tune of the Besht…and the non-Jewish waiter and waitresses stopped in their tracks, commented on its poignancy and then asked each other (they were engaged) if perhaps they, too, should walk down to it as it touched their soul.   [They then decided not (as I eavesdropped on their reasoning) because it wouldn’t fit their crowd and venue.]

I pray in a Sefardic “kne’es” which is another word for shul.  One of the fascinating differences is the Piyutim, the add-on poetry said in the prayers on Yom Tov, are not ones  most folks are familiar with.  No U’nesaneh Tokef (as it was written by a Germanic Rabbi).  No Akdamos (again written by a Rav from Germany).  Instead there are mostly Piyutim from the Tekufa/time of Ibn Gabriol, from the glorious Jewish community in Spain.  And those Piyutim and melodies have laid hold to my soul.  Ah, my mind wanders now, to other tunes that stayed within me, vibrating inside on chords in my soul.  I truly have a universally musical soul – I merited to pray High Holidays as a little girl in Satmar.  You don’t ever forget the beautiful Achas V’achas that sang out the service of the Kohain Gadol on Yom Kippur.  It is a tune that stays with you.  During the year I davened in an Old American Shul with stained glass windows and from that shul the Anim Zemiros became written into my being.  Then, in my teens and twenties, I spent many hours praying in a Litvish Yeshiva.  That gave me the tune to Vidduy.  That gave me the glorious Vaye’sayu, the song painting a poetic picture of what will be when the whole world crowns G-d King.  And now I enjoy the Sefardi Piyutim.  All have become notes of my own song.   Yup, the melodic interpretation of the Universal Jew, that’s me.

The concept of Perek Shira is that every force of nature sings a song.  Not everyone merits to hear it.  There are vibrating sounds around us.  If you read up on the String Theory in Physics, proponents believe the world’s building blocks are actually VIBRATING STRINGS!  All of life, even our life, then, is a song being played.  Not all of it can be heard yet, unless you are finely tuned to hear abstract spiritually sensitive tunes.

 Try to make a song out of your life, my friends.  The swells, the dips, the soaring harmony and the deeper contralto.  Don’t you want your life to be so perfect in beauty that when played out as a song it will make you want to catch your breath in wonder?


and two Piyutim written by Rav Shlomo Ibn Gabriol and sung by HaMadragot:




About jewishspectacles

Jewish Spectacles-the kind you look through, not the kind you create!
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