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Moving Music

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Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg ztz”l. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications and is the author of the books, Fascinating Insights and Incredible Insights. His writings inspire people across the spectrum of Jewish observance to live with the vibrancy and beauty of Torah. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes, and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

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Moving Music

1) R’ Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz would explain that each of the instruments mentioned in the final chapter of Tehillim with which to praise Hashem—shofar, harp, flute among others—arouses a different emotional response: one arouses tears while another arouses happiness and another encourages deep reflection. Taken as a whole, the message is that one must serve Hashem with every emotion.[1]

 

2) The chapters of Tehillim were intended to be sung with musical accompaniment. In fact, each chapter had its own designated instruments and melody so that they would elicit the desired thought, comprehension and emotions that Dovid Hamelech sought to evoke with that particular passage. The Redak[2] writes “It was with instrumental accompaniment that the songs, melodies and praises were ‘said,’ each one according to its tune, which was known to them. It was a great wisdom and it was to arouse the wise soul.”

 

Building on the Redak’s words, R’ Matisyahu Solomon[3] cites the words of a certain old man: “One can never fully understand a chapter of Tehillim with clarity until one knows this wisdom, and understands and recognizes the distinct sounds of the musical instruments and how each specific instrument fits a specific paragraph unlike any other. For it is the musical instruments and the tune that gives the requisite flavor and understanding to comprehend the matters with their desired depth.”

 



[1] See R’ Shamshon Rafael Hirsch, Tehillim 150.

[2] Tehillim 4:1.

[3] Matnas Chaim, Moadim, p. 154.

Writer of the weekly Fascinating Insights Torah sheet in Englishעברית ,אידיש and français
Author of Seven Books including the recently released “Remarkable Insights about Death and the Afterlife”

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