Song is universal, and enriches our worship and spiritual lives

By Betsy Frank

Betsy Frank is UHC para-rabbinic fellow and president.

During a recent Shabbat, we read the Torah portion B’shalach, which included the famous Mi Chamochah, or Song of the Sea.

This song is so integral to our liturgy that I wonder if we sometimes just sing it out of habit, without thinking about the lyrics.

Yet, our liturgical music is a part of us in so many ways. We experience joy as we sing Mi Chamochah, L’Cha Dodi, or Adon Olam and perhaps sadness when we sing the Mi Shebeirach.

Music and prayer share a rhythm

When we sing out of habit, we might pay little attention, but we sing. Our prayers, even without music, have a rhythmic, musical quality. If we daven in the traditional way, we may sway with the rhythm of the prayers.

Song is also a part of other religions’ worship. Much of our Western tradition includes magnificent works by Handel and Bach.

Whether or not you believe in the religious tradition that forms the basis of these works, one’s spirit may be uplifted by the beauty of the music. In eastern traditions, for example, Buddhist monks chant their prayers.

What would worship in any culture be without music? I dare say, the prayers would become so routine that we would lose sight of their purpose and meaning.

What would worship in any culture be without music? I dare say, the prayers would become so routine that we would lose sight of their purpose and meaning.

So, as the old Carpenters hit says and with deference to the title of the Ten Minutes of Torah for B’shalach from several years back, Sing/Sing a song/Sing out loud/Sing out strong!

Music is integral to our spiritual lives.

Shalom — or singing Oseh Shalom,

Betsy Frank

Let us know how you are doing!

Winter is certainly upon us here in Indiana. Snow and ice are frequent visitors. Many of you are in warmer climates or stay at home for safety’s sake.

In any case, let us know how you are doing. Is there anything we as a Jewish community can do for you? Do you have ideas on how we can strengthen our community?

Please let us know. Call Norma at 812-232-5988 with your requests, suggestions and comments.

We are here for you!

Shalom,

Betsy Frank

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