Musical Moments & Messages from Cantor Barber
Thursday, April 2, 2020
Yesterday I shared a song from a small part of Psalm 30 with you. Today I would like to share a different tune from another place in the Psalm, verses 9 and 11: "I called to you Oh Lord; to my Lord I made an appeal. Hear, Oh Lord and have mercy on me. Oh Lord, be my help." Click here to listen.
Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Ba-erev Yalin Bechi
As you read this, it is Wednesday, April 1st, but I am writing on the evening of Tuesday, March 31st. This morning we had our first TBE weekly Tuesday 8:00 am minyan via Zoom. When we got to Psalm 30, Rabbi Katz pointed out the last part of verse 6, "Ba-erev yalin bechi, v'laboker rina" which means "Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning." We might be in a state of sorrow and disorientation now, but there is hope. We can get through this difficulty. Click here to listen.
Virtual 'Love Sweet Love' From Quarantined Berklee College of Music Students
"You Will Be Found" Virtual Choir - Dear Evan Hansen
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Ana Eil na r'fah na la - This prayer is based on Moses' prayer for his sister Miriam in Numbers 12:13 when she was struck with leprosy. The meaning of this prayer is simple, yet strong and direct: Please God, please heal her. Click here to listen.
I want to thank Curt Freedman who reminded me to listen to Al Kol Elah, written by Naomi Shemer, one of Israel's leading musicians and songwriters. Shemer wrote this song in 1980 to comfort her sister who had just been widowed. Al Kol Eleh - "For all these things." It has become one of the most popular songs of contemporary Israel. Like many iconic songs, many regard it as hackneyed and cliched. But there's a reason why it became such a popular song. It reflects powerfully deep wisdom.
The opening words of this song, 'Al hadvash ve-al ha-oketz, al ha-mar ve-hamatok,' 'For the honey and the sting, for the bitter and the sweet,' have their roots in a midrashic comment on the Book of Numbers (Tanhuma Balak 6).
The midrash pictures a person who sees a bee, and says, 'Bee, get away from me! I have no use for you. I don't want your honey, and I don't want your sting."
Its context in the midrash is teaching that to avoid the sting we should not have any honey.
But Naomi Shemer's song turns this midrashic phrase on its head. Naomi Shemer realized that as a life strategy, "I don't want your honey, and I don't want your sting" is deeply flawed. Such a strategy can lead someone to avoid any endeavor that includes the possibility of pain or failure.
Shemer says: don't avoid the honey because of the sting. Rather, appreciate the honey despite the sting.
This particular production of Al Kol Elah was performed at Israel's 70th independence day celebration. Click here to listen.