fabric of song

There are many ways in which humankind are animal, but there are ways in which humanity is undeniably different. True, if we abdicate our ability to grow beyond our animal nature we become it. But, in the instances that we manage to overcome, to shine the light of a mitzwah, the light of our neshama on the world, something totally beyond nature can be glimpsed.

Rav Azulai in Hesed L'Avraham (4:3) explains the difference: HaShem, being the ultimate source and root of all of creation, created each creation out of a subset or lone aspect of the totality of His expression, His komah, His level. Man however, HaShem created in His image, a representation of His complete level.

This difference plays out in a very practical way: Because all of creation is rooted in HaShem's image, and we were created in HaShem's image, we can take responsibility for the livelihood of all of creation.

I wanted to expand on this teaching to understand how the world's underlying means of management is song. The Zohar begins in Parashath Bereishith explaining how the letters of the Torah are directed and animated by the ta'amim, the musical notes. All of creation follows the underlying tune, the niggun. Indeed the word Bereishith itself is an anagram of Shirath Av, a father's song. So too, Yisrael, who is created in the image of God, is an anagram of Shir E-l. (Godly Song)

Rav Azulai continues to explain that each element of creation has a specific song, [described in Perek Shirah] yet man has the ability to understand and unify and bring out the depth of all of the songs of creation through his tefilloth. All of creation (even the heavens) is compelled to raise up the words, the breaths, and even the sounds of man's Tefillah, so that all may be blessed.

What we see from all this is that truly, on the deepest of levels, HaShem runs the world through song, and that through our song we are given to care for and nurture all of creation, just as Adam HaRishon was the caretaker of Gan Eden. Lest we worry that perhaps our vocal skills aren't up to the challenge. The concept of song itself is a complex one. The Zohar quoted earlier refers to the music as ta'amim, which bears also the connotation of meanings. It is clear from everything we know about prayer that it must come from the heart, and what comes out from the heart enters the heart. As the Talmud explains, HaShem wants our hearts. (רחמנא ליבא בעי) When we pray from the depths of our hearts, that is the most crisp, most pure song that could be. When it is clear from our prayers that HaShem is the creator of all, and upon him, solely, we rely. That is the most beautiful song.


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