Today is the third day of Nisan; Pesach is coming soon soon soon! Here’s our Song for the Month of Nisan, which we’ll sing this Shabbat at services and will sing again during the hand-washing at our second-night community seder.
This chant describes God as a fountain of blessing, pouring blessing into our lives like water. The melody is by Rabbi Shefa Gold.
פֶלֶג אֱלֹהִים מָלֵא מַיִם
Peleg elohim, malei mayyim (Fountain of God, full of water!)
Chodesh tov — happy new month! Adar is an especially joyous month on the Jewish calendar, because this month contains Purim.
Our Song of the Month this Adar is the same song I chose for us last year during this month, so it may be familiar to some of y’all. It’s a musical setting of the last verse in the book of Exodus, which we’ll read in the Torah toward the end of this lunarm onth. The melody was written by my friend Daniel Kempin, an ALEPH cantorial student. It is simple and beautiful, a call-and-response which I’m hoping will be easy to follow. The words appear below.
You can listen to the song online, or download it for your home computer, here: Ki Anan Adonai (Kempin). Or, play it by clicking on the little triangle icon:
Here are the words:
Ki Anan Adonai (The Cloud of God) – melody by Daniel Kempin
כִּי עֲנַן יְי
וְאֵשׁ, תִּהְיֶה לַיְלָה בּוֹ
Ki anan Adonai
al ha-mishkan yomam
V’esh tih’yeh laila bo
L’einei kol beit-Yisrael B’chol mas’eihem
(Translation: For the cloud of God
was above the mishkan by day
and fire was there by night
in the eyes of all the house of Israel
in all of their journeys. — Exodus 40:38)
This Shabbat: join Reb Rachel and special visitor Reb David Markus, associate spiritual leader of Temple Beth El of City Island in New York, for Shabbat morning services.
Expect music (both guitar and piano!), harmony, terrific Torah teachings, and an infusion of the sweet, prayerful energy which both Reb David and Reb Rachel soaked up at OHALAH, the annual conference of Jewish Renewal clergy, which took place this week.
During this week we’re reading Parashat Bo, which contains the following verse:
Va-anachnu lo neda mah na’avod et Adonai ad bo’einu shamah.
(Exodus 10:26: We shall not know with what we are to worship Adonai until we arrive there.)
We’ll sing that line to a melody written by Rabbi Simcha Zevit, one of Reb Rachel’s classmates. This is our Song for the Month of Shvat, and you can listen to a recording (sung by Hazzan Shoshanna Brown) here:
You may have noticed the crescent moon waxing in the sky; the month of Kislev began a few days ago. And here, slightly belatedly, is our Song for the Month of Kislev! This is one I learned as a kid at Jewish summer camp, and it’s one of my favorites.
The text comes from Isaiah 2:4: “And nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor shall they learn war anymore.”
The lunar month of Cheshvan begins tomorrow night.
Cheshvan is a rare thing on the Jewish calendar: an entire month without any holidays at all (except, of course, for Shabbat.) Especially after the whirlwind of the Days of Awe, this can feel either like a relief or like a let-down. The rabbis called this month Mar-Cheshvan — “Bitter Cheshvan” — because it contains no holidays. But Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, may his memory be a blessing, used to reverse the word Mar into Ram, which means “elevated.” This can be an elevated month, a high and holy month for us, even without special celebrations.
Our Song for the Month this month is a setting of one line of Psalm 92. The melody is by Rabbi Shefa Gold, and can be found on her cd Chants Encounter. Here it is:
part 1: Hallelujah, hallelujah
Part 2: Mah gadlu ma’asecha Yah, me’od amku machshevotecha!
(Translation: How great are Your works, God; Your thoughts are very deep!)
This weekend we’ll reach Rosh Chodesh Elul, the beginning of the new lunar month whose name can be read as an acronym for the phrase ani l’dodi v’dodi li – I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved is mine. This is the month when we are invited to relate to God as the divine Beloved, to wander in the fields with God and share quiet conversation, to turn toward our Beloved again and strengthen our relationship as we move through this final month before the Days of Awe.
Just like last year, our Song for the Month of Elul will be Achat Sha’alti (One Thing I Ask), which comes from Psalm 27:
Welcome to Congregation Beth Israel's "From the Rabbi" blog. Here you'll find communications from Rabbi Rachel (and also sometimes guest posts from our other shlichei tzibbur / prayer leaders); updates about programs from classes to meditation minyanim to Jewish movies at CBI; divrei Torah and sermons; musings on where we are in the wheel of the Jewish year; and more!
Basically: if you've ever thought, "I wish I could find that email that Reb Rachel sent out the other day," you're in luck: everything I send out is archived here, and categorized for easy retrieval. Thanks for dropping by!