Building with Our Voices

SaritaWhat an amazing weekend it was with our guest, Joey Weisenberg. A highlight for me was towards the end of services on Saturday, when Joey invited us to gather round him for Musaf. To make room, we shifted the bima and moved the chairs aside. Envision the people, after moving through the parted Red Sea and gathering on the far bank, singing their praises and gratitude. Now come one step closer, he coaxed us. Now come even one more step closer. And so we stood shoulder to shoulder.

It seemed fitting that the Torah portion was about building the mishkan …. about coming together as a community, not just the master craftsman but each person contributing according to their ability.

And so it was with our singing. It didn’t matter how well anyone sang. It didn’t matter if someone missed a note (I like to try to harmonize but, as an untrained singer, I am often flat). You cannot break a prayer, Joey told us.

Sometimes we sang together. Sometimes Joey paused in his chanting for us to mirror and sustain his last note. For the first time in my life, I felt how prayer could replace sacrifice as our voices joined and rose together as an offering of prayer.

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Sarita Eisenberg

Sarita Eisenberg

Sarita is co-editor of ShomreiWeek (weekly newsletter) and the Kol Emunah Blog. She holds a Ph.D. in Language Science and is an associate professor in the Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders at Montclair State University. She lives in Montclair with her husband Lou Hammerman.
Sarita Eisenberg

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