Makhelat Beth Sholom (TBS Choir)
Making a Joyful Noise - Together
There are two times in the course of the year when our Torah reading includes Shirat HaYam – the Song of the Sea: in the parasha Beshallach and in our Torah reading for the seventh day of Passover. This is the dramatic moment when Bnai Yisrael cross the sea as it parts, lifting their voices in spontaneous song after they get to the other side: “Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord.”
To join together in song at one of the most powerful moments in our history – what a statement our ancestors made! Our Etz Hayim commentary tells us that at no point since creation had humans sung to God. Even when Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’s lives had been spared dramatically, none had sung praises to God to demonstrate their tremendous gratitude.
The power inherent in groups of people joined in song is stirring. I’ve sung in choirs my entire life: from elementary school (where my hip teacher had us performing Blood Sweat and Tears songs), to my synagogue’s High Holiday choir from the time I turned 13, to an a cappella pop group in college. Every rehearsal provided at least one moment of transcendent harmony – where attention to the notes becomes secondary to the emotion of the moment.
Makhelat Beth Sholom, TBS’s all-volunteer choir, has a long history in this congregation. Meeting on Wednesday nights, they are a phenomenally dedicated group who share a passion for Jewish music and liturgy, as well as for the camaraderie and community born of working creatively together. We are led by Robert Ross, a wonderfully experienced, smart and knowledgeable choral director. Together we’re looking to making music both a creative and spiritual outlet, to have fun, create beauty and to share it with the TBS and local community. And we hope to grow in number, welcoming all who have a passion for singing and for Jewish music they want to explore. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or ask any of our members if you are interested in learning more!
Etz Hayim commentary shares a legend that the angels, too, wanted to sing praises at the parting of the sea, but that God told them, “Wait, and let Israel sing first. Humans are able to praise only when they are inspired. If we do not give them the opportunity, the desire will pass.” [David of Kotzk, Etz Hayim, p. 407]
-- Cantor Jen Cohen