Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Miriam brought a tambourine when the Jews escaped Egypt. Why pack an instrument – something that isn’t necessary for survival in the desert – when she could have packed something a little more substantial? I would have chosen to pack more matzah!

Miriam had faith that G-d would save her people from Egyptian slavery. Music conveys emotion too difficult for even our conscious minds to comprehend. It is beyond the rational. It is something more – and that is how it can connect us to something beyond ourselves.


When the Jews crossed the Sea of Reeds and the Egyptians didn’t, Miriam whipped out her tambourine. She played, sang and danced with the other women. The music symbolized their faith and their joy more than words could ever express. We understand that the song that is the human experience connects us even when our stories may be somewhat different.

Sound is not finite. It can’t be written down and thus can never die. Written words are stagnant, whereas spoken words are moving. Sound is a link to the eternal. It connects us to G-d.

According to Torah, the earth was created in seven days. There are seven notes on the musical scale. Seven is a very special number in Judaism; it represents completion. Seven symbolizes the spiritual reality of the physical world.

At its essence, music can be an expression of prayer. Perhaps this is why the Hebrew word for prayer, tefillah, and the word for song, shira, have the same numerical equivalent. Through song we can access the true yearnings of our soul, our prayers.

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Daniel Finkelman is a prolific director and producer. He is the founder of SparksNext, a boutique production house based in New York. SparksNext has produced over 100 features, shorts, music videos, documentaries, and commercials.