Just as prayer is something we are, not what we do, so too music is not something we enjoy or play, but who we are on so many levels. Similar to the idea of the Hebrew letters being the building blocks of creation, music manifests itself at all levels of reality and we need to become aware of its all encompassing presence. Music in our lives has the ability to make peace between all the multiplicity we experience, creating a sense of unity and oneness.
Rabbi Kook, the first chief Rabbi of Palestine, 1865 – 1935 , wrote a most magnificent description of song:
There is one who sings the song of his own life, and in himself he finds everything, his full spiritual satisfaction.
There is another who sings the song of his people. He leaves the circle of his own individual self, because he finds it without sufficient breadth, without an idealistic basis. He aspires towards the heights, and he attaches himself with a gentle love to the whole community of Israel. Together with her he sings her songs. He feels grieved in her afflictions and delights in her hopes. He contemplates noble and pure thoughts about her future and probes with love and wisdom her inner spiritual essence.
There is another who reaches toward more distant realms, and he goes beyond the boundary of Israel to sing the song of man. His spirit extends to the wider vistas of the majesty of man generally, and his noble essence. He aspires towards mans general goal and looks forward to his higher perfection. From this source of life he draws the subjects of his meditation and study, his aspirations and his visions.
Then there is one who rises toward wider horizons, until he links himself with all existence, with all God’s creatures, with all worlds, and he sings his song with all of them. It is of one such as this that tradition has said that whoever sings a portion of song each day is assured of having a share in the world to come.
And then there is one who rises with all these songs in one ensemble, and they all join voices. Together they sing their songs with beauty, each one lends vitality and life to the other. They are sounds of joy and gladness, sounds of jubilation and celebration, sounds of ecstasy and holiness.
The song of the self, the song of the people, the song of man, the song of the world all merge in him at all times, in every hour.
And this full comprehension rises to become the song of holiness, the song of God, the song of Israel, in its full strength and beauty, in its full authenticity and greatness. The name “Israel” stands for shir el, the song of God. It is a simple song, a twofold song, a threefold song, and a fourfold song. It is the Song of Songs of Solomon, shlomo, which means peace or wholeness. It is the song of the King in whom is wholeness.”
The mystical power of music and its profound attraction upon the soul reflects the teaching of the Arizal that in essence man is a small world and the world is a large man. The physical and spiritual nature of man incorporates all creation, while all reality is modeled on the secret of man being in the Divine image. Music is manifest in both the microcosm and the macrocosm and it is the very pulse of the universe and life itself. The Zohar teaches that God, Torah and Israel are one ( Zohar 3:73a). Music and song are the strings upon which this unity is expressed. The blueprint of creation, along with the physical and spiritual laws of the universe are like the musical score, while each part of creation plays its part. There are times for solo performances and times for singing with the choir, moments to improvise and instances of sitting back and just listening.
May we all be blessed to hear the song of every facet of creation and integrate it into every fiber of our beings, until we become the music itself. Through this we come to realize our potential and accomplish our purpose in life, expressed through our own unique song. May we always strive to rectify and heal, fulfill and reveal the oneness of God, with the great joy that comes from serving Him. May our efforts be directed to redemption and the sounds of the tenth song, a new song to God, waiting to be revealed, quickly and in our days.