One of my best friends, Cantor Jeffrey Shiovitz, recently taught me a beautiful midrash from Perek Shira, a chapter in Song. Attaching an appropriate verse to the elements of creation, it recounts how everything in the world sings; the lion sings, and the stars and the trees. The medieval Christian spiritualist, Thomas Kempis, beautifully wrote, “If you cannot sing like the nightingale and the lark, then sing like the crows and the frog, which sing as God meant them to.” This is the lesson of Perek Shira – within all of creation rests a song waiting to happen.
Moses had trouble speaking, but at the sea, “So sang Moses and the children of Israel.” His speech impediment did not prevent his song. There is even a Talmudic tradition that the worthy King Hezekiah might have proved himself to become the Messiah, but when his time came to sing to God, he could not sing. Redemption itself requires a song. Shira in Hebrew means both poetry and song; each day we recite a shir shel yom, a psalm of the day. In the Temple, the psalms were accompanied by music. We sing just like creation a tribute to the Creator of all. As it is written in Shir Hakavod – the Song of Honor, “I sing hymns and weave songs because my soul yearns for it.”
So, please join me in Shira, in song. Spend a few moments each day in song and let us sing together every time you come to services – together we will sing a jubilant song.