The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Music and Prayer

There is an article in yesterday's Jerusalem Post regarding the 10th Anniversary of Reva L'sheva

There is an interesting take on the impact that Shlomo Carlebach had on their music and their lives:

"Katz, Elias and Blumen first came to Israel on the advice of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, whom the other three members of the band also had the good fortune of knowing.

"Carlebach always talked about 'Jerusalem the Holy City,' and finally I just thought, what am I doing here when I can live near 'Jerusalem the Holy City' all the time?" says Katz, who first met the great musical/spiritual Jewish leader at a Torah study session in Florida in 1972. Finally, in July 1993, Katz and his wife moved from Los Angeles to Israel.

Blumen was 27 when he first met Carlebach while playing at a venue in New York City.

"After that first meeting with Shlomo, it hit me that music has a very high purpose," says Blumen. "Music is very deep, and it is supposed to carry a high message and bring people together."

"I think that music and prayer are synonymous," agrees Katz. "I feel that music is one of the only ways we are going to get out of this," he says in reference to what he calls the "bankruptcy in both political and spiritual leadership in Israel. (emphasis mine)

"I think God is waiting for us to cry out to Him. If everybody could come together for one day of prayer... I really think we could change the world."

I think Yehuda Katz is right in that music CAN be synonymous with prayer. Most of the music Shlomo wrote, and much of the music of some of his disciples falls into that category. That happens when you are connected to Hashem and the music you write comes into your head from a higher place (and not because you want to sell a lot of CDs). Listening to that kind of music can create the same kind of d'veykus (attachment) to Hashem as a good Shmonah esreih (indeed, a much better attachment for the many people who find it hard to daven with kavanah).


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