By Chaya Nessa Krycer, Featured Writer for DOJLife.com
Now that the somber days of the three weeks have passed, “The hills are alive with the sound of music” once again. And for all you literal-minded readers, we do, in fact, have hills in our even and oblate Dallas surroundings. Why, I can distinctly visualize hazardous inclines and subsequent declines throughout the entire Prestoncrest area. If one were to put a coin in the center of the road, it would be impossible to spot, due to the remarkable levels of elevation in the usual pancake flat surface. On almost any other street you could detect even an obsolete dollar bill from a mile away. This can possibly explain why the average poverty rate in Texas is only 9%. But that is neither here nor there. (As I am a proud member of the North Eruv, I firmly refer to the above mentioned section as ‘there’.)
Now that we have thoroughly discussed the various ranges of Dallas’ agriculture, it seems fitting to return to the main topic of this article – music. It is extremely relevant that the topic for this week pertain to music, as we are finally permitted to enjoy the dulcet tones of the “songs they have sung for a thousand years.” This is strictly referring to Jewish music. I highly doubt that the symphonies written by the Greek empire are still in existence. Nor have we yet to uncover the melodies sung at King Achashverosh’s devious and nefarious party. But I would wholeheartedly believe you if you were to claim that the niggun you use for Shalom Aleichem every Friday night was passed down from father to son and can be traced back to Adam HaRishon. Thanks to the Living Torah Museum, anything is now possible.
Due to the fact that for the previous weeks I have isolated myself from my musical endeavors, I find myself filling “my heart with the sound of music.” I have also succeeded in filling it with its vibration, pulses, depths, quivers, and creation. (In these modern times it is absurd to fill my heart with only the sounds).
It would not be an exaggeration in the slightest to say that “my heart wants to sing every song it hears.” You can imagine how frustrating this can be at public venues such as the supermarket. (Although it is questionable if the blaring cacophonies emanating from its interior can be accurately depicted as music.) It is almost automatic to mouth along to the catchy phrases of familiar melodies. Naturally, singing out loud in a public arena generally hampers the image of gentility and charm that you may wish to present. Because of this, we are forced to notice the advantage of wearing a mask. Besides for giving an aura of sensitivity for others and protecting those in close proximity from being infected (albeit people that are standing that close to you probably deserve it), it also gives you the opportunity to mouth the lyrics to your favorite songs. You can even very quietly whisper to yourself, and no one will be wiser. (Actually, they will be wiser. You know what they say about people who talk to themselves).
But even with that added security, “my heart wants to beat like the wings of the birds that rise from the lake to the trees.” The man-made lakes, that is. And the trees that Lady Bird Johnson so generously uprooted from its original environment and cultivated in picturesque bunches along the freshly paved roads. (The roads must by this time be freshly paved, as there is perpetual road work being executed on all major streets.)
It is times like the Three Weeks that “my heart wants to sigh like a chime that flies from a house of worship without idolatry on a breeze.” I’d like to think that my sigh is so melodious that it can replace music altogether, when necessary. However, I somehow perceive that this is unfortunately not the case. Better luck next time.
“To laugh like a brook when it trips and falls over stones on it’s way,” has not been one of my lifelong aspirations, especially since most of the brooks in Dallas are, you guessed it, man-made. Also, I question the truth of an entity laughing principally when it is tripping and falling and twisting its metaphorical ankle. Unless this song is much deeper than I thought, that just like (l’havdil) Dovid Hamelech, it praises Hashem when it is distressed. *Sigh* (Was that not melodious?)
One thing I could honestly envision myself doing is “to sing through the night like a lark who is learning to pray to Hashem.” Although, to be perfectly candid, it has been done at almost every campfire, kumzitz, and blackout. It’s not even original.
So perhaps instead I should “Go to the hills when my heart is lonely” (Referring, I suppose, to the Prestoncrest slopes). “I know I will hear what I’ve heard before.”. (And if you think I will use this opportunity to speak Loshon Hara (evil minded gossip) about the people who live over there you are mistaken. Especially since this is one of the worst times to slander our fellow brethren. If not for the abundance of disparaging remarks we have made about each other, I would be able to listen to music all summer long. With that in mind, “my heart will be blessed with the sound of music.” (And hopefully my body, mind, and soul as well. In this case there is no such idea as too much of a good thing.) Therefore, I will “sing once more.” Or two times. Or three. Or ten.
To end off, it is clear that the composer of this masterpiece (“The Sound of Music”, in case you haven’t caught on yet) was not the first to grasp the importance of music. We can see that since we must abstain from it during times of deep mourning, the Torah views it in the same way. We learn from this that the greatest joy can be discovered through the vibrations, pulses, and quivers of music.