web analytics
September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Music In Our Prayers


When the Jewish people crossed the Red Sea, successfully escaping the clutches of the Egyptians, Moses gathered the Israelites together and they sang the famous “Az Yashir.” Miriam, Moses’s sister, also assembled the women as they danced with tambourines and sang “shiru lahashem ki gao gaa sus vrochbo rama bayam” – let us sing to Hashem for he is great, horse and chariot he drowned in the sea.”

If only we could hear the beautiful melody that she and Moshe sang.

When the prophetess Deborah was successful in battle she composed a beautiful song. “VatasharD’vorah” – “and Deborah sang.” What song and what melody did she sing?

When God answered Chanah’s prayers and she gave birth to Shmuel, she sang a beautiful song of thanks and appreciation. Where is the haunting melody of thanks that she sang?

When King Saul was overcome with sadness and despair, David played on his harp to lift his spirits. I often wonder what beautiful and inspiring music David must have played to calm the troubled King Saul. Probably the same music he sang when he composed his Psalms.

King David is called the sweet singer of Israel. Our tradition states that he wrote the book of Psalms, in which he sings the praises of God and beseeches Him for help. These Psalms are used as a vehicle of prayer to God, asking Him for help in times of need or extolling Him in times of happiness.

How beautiful these songs must have been. If only we could hear King David, the singer of our people, chant those beautiful melodies.

When the prophet Elisha was asked to advise Jeroboam on whether to engage in war, Elisha asked to first play music. It was only after the music lifted his spirits and transformed his anger into happiness that he received the power to prophesize.

In the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, all the services were accompanied by music as the Levites sang haunting melodies and beautiful songs. They played instruments and chanted, all to create the mood of prayer and to reach heights that could not be attained if one just muttered the words.

Music is the conduit of the soul. To achieve a level of pure spirituality one must sing with happiness and gratitude.

Music and song have always been a vital part of our tradition and heritage. Creative Jews throughout the ages have composed expressive moving songs and melodies that offered our people comfort in bad times and unbridled ecstasy in good times. When we sing and infuse our prayers with song we are able to reach spiritual heights almost as if we are singing with God Himself.

Often when I pray and the chazzan chants a haunting melody, I close my eyes and it seems as if I am singing with the Shechina.

This is the power of song. It is the yearning of our soul to come closer to God. It is our neshama, our soul, searching to soar to higher religious levels. It is through music – this indescribable sound that emanates from our deepest feelings, this expression of our profoundest language of love and emotion – that we can attain the highest level of holiness.

While there are, of course, occasions when time spent on prayer must be shortened – for example, when a person has to go to work – there is no excuse, when one has time to pray, for failing to infuse prayer with music and earnestness

Nevertheless, many shuls across the country have formed minyanim on Shabbat – when there is plenty of time to daven properly – with the ultimate aim of finishing quickly. Friday night services, instead of being inspiring and meaningful, become a race on getting done as quickly as possible.

Prayer has become an unavoidable chore for many of our people, and additional singing an extension of this misery. Schools, too, are often more concerned with “covering the ground” and just davening, rather than attaching meaning by the inclusion of song.

Our children learn from our actions. They see how we behave and they mimic our actions. We set a poor example when our prayers are just “upgezugt” – said with little depth and meaning.

About the Author: Rabbi Mordechai Weiss is principal of the Bess and Paul Sigel Hebrew Academy of Greater Hartford. Any comments can be e-mailed to him at Ravmordechai@aol.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Music In Our Prayers”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
ISIS executioner holding British aid worker Alan Henning as a hostage.
Muslims Plead with ISIS for Life of UK Aid Worker Alan Henning
Latest Indepth Stories
IDF lone soldier and  David Menachem Gordon (z"l).

Why has his death been treated by some as an invitation for an emotional “autopsy”?

Starck-091914

SWOT analysis: Assessing resources, internal Strengths&Weaknesses; external Opportunities&Threats.

Kohn-091914

Strategy? For the longest time Obama couldn’t be bothered to have one against a sworn enemy.

Miller-091914

Seventeen visual skills are needed for success in school, sports, and everyday life.

We started The Jewish Press. Arnie was an integral part of the paper.

Fear alone is substantial; without fusing it to beauty, fear doesn’t reach its highest potential.

Fortunate are we to have Rosh Hashanah for repentance, a shofar to awaken heavenly mercy.

Arab leaders who want the US to stop Islamic State are afraid of being dubbed traitors and US agents

National Lawyers Guild:Sworn enemy of Israel & the legal arm of Palestinian terrorism since the ’70s

A little less than 10 percent of eligible Democratic voters came out on primary day, which translates into Mr. Cuomo having received the support of 6.2 percent of registered Democrats.

The reality, though, is that the Israeli “war crimes” scenario will likely be played out among highly partisan UN agencies, NGOs, and perhaps even the International Criminal Court.

Peace or the lack of it between Israel and the Palestinians matters not one whit when it comes to the long-term agenda of ISIS and other Islamists, nor does it affect any of the long-running inter-Arab conflicts and wars.

Rather than serving as a deterrent against terrorist attacks, Israel’s military strength and capabilities are instead looked at as an unfair advantage in the asymmetrical war in which it finds itself.

Sisi:”The religious nature of the Middle East creates challenges for the governing authorities.”

More Articles from Rabbi Mordechai Weiss

When the Jewish people crossed the Red Sea, successfully escaping the clutches of the Egyptians, Moses gathered the Israelites together and they sang the famous “Az Yashir.” Miriam, Moses’s sister, also assembled the women as they danced with tambourines and sang “shiru lahashem ki gao gaa sus vrochbo rama bayam” – let us sing to Hashem for he is great, horse and chariot he drowned in the sea.”

I have always been disturbed by the fact that while millions upon millions of dollars are poured into the construction and programs of synagogues, the support received by our yeshivas and day schools is so meager in comparison.

As an educator, I was always intrigued with the trip on which my high school students would embark in their junior or senior year. The “March of the Living” allows a student to experience in a small way the immense tragedy our people endured during the Holocaust.

The first reference to Mount Sinai in the Torah occurs when our teacher Moses witnessed a strange phenomenon there. As he was shepherding his sheep he glanced up at the mountain and saw a thorn bush that was burning without being consumed by the fire.

Diversity in Judaism is common in our history and liturgy. One can visit many synagogues and observe that the order of davening and the text of siddur vary from shul to shul. When I’m in Israel I often attend the services in a Sephardi shul where the prayers and the sequence of taking the Torah from the ark and replacing it are vastly different from what I’m accustomed to.

Herzl was dead within a year, but his prophetic vision established him as the Father of modern Zionism.

Though the worship of God and our underlying relationship with Him are implicit in this text, the stress is on our relationship with people.

When I study of the experiences of King David or the challenges of our gedolim when they were young, I gain more respect and admiration for them.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/music-in-our-prayers/2008/02/13/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: