web analytics
December 28, 2014 / 6 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



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
A message from an ambassador of the Palestinian Authority, Israel's "peace partner."
Palestinian Authority Envoy to Tehran Says Israel will be Destroyed
Latest Indepth Stories
School of Athens by Raphael (Aristotle on right holding his work, "Ethics")

2 basic aspects of Aristotelian thought remarkably like Jewish thought: “Involvement” & “Purpose”

Ben-Tsvi-122614

“Farming still allows some unique opportunities for mitzvah fulfillment that a city dweller never meets.”

Bill Cosby

It shakes our sense of justice when allegations against a famed role model are covered up or ignored

MK Moshe-Feiglin

Feiglin: Only true liberty will allow us to genuinely connect to our Jewish identity.

The silver lining with early elections is the chance to change the current dysfunctional government.

The Holocaust Educational Trust Ireland informed the host he could not say “Israel or Jewish state”

It’s fascinating how sources attain the status “traditional,” or its equivalent level of kashrus.

The West needs to ensure Russia understands that aggression comes at a significant cost.

What benefit is a learning experience that leaves kids confused,disillusioned&harms self confidence?

Girlfriend and double cop-killer Ismaaiyl Brinsley apparently was influenced by Islamic extremism.

We see pictures of mosques, monuments for terrorists, illegal schools, and hundreds of apartments being built on Jewish land without repercussions. We are losing Jewish property, so it is up to us to protect it.

Thus, despite the increasingly serious problems for the mayor arising out of the current anti-police protests, Mr. de Blasio apparently will be cut no slack by those who seem to be aiming for a significant role in running the city from the streets and who will do whatever they can to prevent their momentum from ebbing.

Also left unsaid was the fact that the menorah and its oil were in the Beit HaMikdash, which of course was located on Har HaBayit – the Temple Mount that present-day Muslims claim as their own.

Despite strong pressure to throw the book at the accused, Mr. Thompson allowed him to plead guilty to assault.

More Articles from Rabbi Mordechai Weiss

In our times, most of us when we pray, our minds are on something else-it is hard to focus all the time.

The bus stop where Dalia Lemkus was killed.

Two of these attacks occurred close to Allon Shvut, and somehow I feel responsible.

We recognize that we are only a speck in this great world and only a small impression in the unfolding of time. As an educator, I have always believed that teachers should realize this as well.

Schools should realize that a child’s life is composed of multifaceted experiences, and schoolwork and homework are only one small part of the equation.

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.

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

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: