Jewish Life, a Song of Peace and Strength …
“Neima,” “shir,” “shira,” “zemer,” “zimri,” “hock” …
Hebrew has many different words that mean “song.”
The first song is perhaps the one that Miriam and Moses sang, accompanied by drumming and dancing as the Jews emerged from the Sea of Reeds (Exodus 15: 20). The first song was about hope after hopelessness. It spoke of the discovery of another world that was possible after their having lived as slaves, filled with the fear of destruction.
Since then, song and music have accompanied the Jewish people throughout our history. Licentious singing is not acceptable. Only “sacred” song can express our fundamental beliefs. Sacred music must be serious in order to deal with the difficulties that we have faced as a people since the destruction of the Temple, but it also must fulfill the injunction “serve the Eternal with joy.” (Psalm 100: 2)
The music of the Psalms begins with nature, marveling at the beauty of Creation. The music of the Psalms helps us to the recognize our responsibility vis-a-vis Creation, God and our fellow human beings. We cannot sing without hearing each other.
In contrast to the Psalms, the parashah of the week, the Korach, sows discord, and destroys harmony. A recalcitrant Levi will not be among the skillful musicians who accompany the service of the Temple with song.
Our Psalms invite us to sing new songs: “Rejoice you just one, in The Source, you who are upright, it is fitting to sing praise.” (Psalm 33: 1, from the morning service)
Israel’s national anthem is a song of hope.
The hope is that fairness will join with justice.
That gentleness will combine with force.
That a song of peace and not a murmur will infuse the singing at Temple Beth Shalom.
That we join together, in peace and strength, to support each other and TBS
That this Friday we all gather in peace and strength at Kabalat Shabat to listen to each other’s harmonies … hearing, sharing our prayers and learning at our best, some new harmonies.