Let's take a trip through our history and learn just a few interesting facts about the importance of music in the Torah:
- One of the first situations where we encounter Song in the Torah is when first Moshe and then
Miriam lead Am Israel in Song & Praise to Hashem after Keriyas Yam Soof. Miriam did better
though (the women usually do) by adding musical instruments. Like it says
"ותיקח מרים הנביאה, אחות אהרון, את התוף בידה, ותצאנה כל הנשים אחריה בתופים ובמחולות".“And Miriam, the Prophet, sister of Aharon, took the tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her with tambourines and dancing”
- David spent a lifetime singing praises to Hashem. He gave us Tehillim so all of us can use them to pray for any need at any point in time. Tehillim are known as prayers which every Jew in every generation, in any situation, can use. David Hamelech embodied the collective soul of the jewish people. The prayers he put together for us in Tehillim were selected to be in a format of songs. Shlomo Hamelech, his son, was the wisest man who ever lived. The Zohar explains that Shlomo’s wisdom was based on his knowledge of song. Indeed he composed Shir haShirim – the song of songs which the Gemara says is the holy of holies...
- The Torah itself is a song
ועתה כתבו לכם את השירה הזאתAnd now, write for yourselves this song. When a boy becomes bar mitzvah what does he learn to do? to sing the Torah because that it is how the Torah is read not as a book but as a song.
- In the Beit Hamikdash all services were accompanied by the songs of the Leviim. There were special trumpets used (as well as other musical instruments). In fact the Rambam says the instruments were used even on Shabbos.
- After the battle won by Barak against Sisra, Devorah HaNevia sings Hahsems praise
- On Rosh HaShana we blow the shofar. A series of musical sounds that are somehow more powerful than words.
- Chazal say that Hashem wanted King Chizkyahu (which was a very righteous king) to be the Mashiach. He lost that role because he didn’t sing to Hahshem.
- There is a famous list of songs that are sung by Hashem’s creations. From the Heavens and the earth to the plants, bugs, birds and animals. Chazal tell us that it is a great merit to say Perek Shira.
- The Midrash enumerates ten preeminent songs in the history of Israel -- ten occasions on which our experience of redemption found expression in melody and verse. The first nine were in our history...: the song sung on the night of the Exodus in Egypt (Isaiah 30:29), the "Song at the Sea" (Exodus 15:1-21), the "Song at the Well" (Numbers 21:17-20), Moses' song upon his completion of writing the Torah (Deuteronomy 32), the song with which Joshua stopped the sun (Joshua 10:12-13), Deborah's song (Judges 5), King David's song (II Samuel 22), the song at the dedication of the Holy Temple (Psalms 30), and King Solomon's Song of Songs extolling the love between the Divine Groom and His bride Israel. The tenth song, says the Midrash, will be the shir chadash, the "New Song" of the ultimate redemption: a redemption that is global and absolute; a redemption that will annihilate all suffering, ignorance, jealousy, and hate from the face of the earth; a redemption of such proportions that the yearning it evokes, and the joy it brings, require a new song -- a completely new musical vocabulary -- to capture the voice of Creation's ultimate striving.
- The most well known of the ten songs of redemption is Shirat HaYam, the "Song at the Sea" sung by Moses and the children of Israel upon their crossing of the Red Sea. We recite this song every day in our morning prayers, and publicly read it in the synagogue twice a year: on the seventh day of Passover (the anniversary of the splitting of the sea and the song's composition), and on a mid-winter Shabbat in the course of the annual Torah-reading cycle -- a Shabbat which is therefore distinguished with the name Shabbat Shirah, "Shabbat of Song."
- Every year we go through a period of mourning marked by the prohibition of music. Since music = happiness, when we are in mourning, there can’t be any music. The Gemara explains that Am Israel was punished because they didn’t serve Hashem “b’Simcha ub’tuv Levav” – Out of happiness and good heart. Rashi & Tosfot both explain that good heart refers specifically to song!
- The Arizal said that when Rabbi Israel Najara (author of Ka Ribon) would sing on Shabbos, hordes of angles would come to listen to him sing.
- May we be inspired by the significance of Music in the Torah and use this gift wisely for wonderful purposes.