Thursday, February 24, 2011


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Vayakhel

21 Adar I 5771/Febuary 25, 2011

Background music; it’s practically everywhere. You can hardly go shopping anywhere without music playing overhead as you browse through the merchandise in a store. In fact, you can probably learn a lot about a store, like what kind of clientele they hope to attract, from the type of music they play.

Most people would probably say that they hardly hear the music, and surely not the lyrics, being playing overhead as they shop. But I can’t help but notice what my ears are being subjected to, even in the background. [At times I wish I could tune it out but I have a hard time doing so.]

It is no great revelation to say that there seems to be an overriding basic theme that permeates the overwhelming majority of the Western World’s contemporary music. The singer tends to express a longing for a particular nebulous companion who they are sure will make them feel deliriously happy when they are united. Perhaps in the past the subject has rejected them or even abandoned them. Still the singer feels compelled to reconnect with that lost experience. They just ‘neeeeeeeeed’ to be together, even if logic dictates otherwise.

The songs invariably express a feeling of nostalgic yearning, pining, hoping, striving, and longing to connect with someone who makes them feel complete.

If one hears the lyrics of our zemiros and songs (which are often drawn from the timeless words of Dovid Hamelech in Tehillim) one seems to hear a similar underlying theme. Our songs also express an inner longing to feel connected, to transcend inner pain and despair, and to overcome feelings of personal deficiency. We too sing about our desire to reconnect with ‘Someone’ who can make us feel complete and special. We too lament feelings of despondency which stem from inadequacy, and hope that we can regain a past sense of sublime joy.

Our songs too express feelings of nostalgic yearning, pining, hoping, striving, and longing to connect with Someone who makes us feel complete.

It seems that G-d, in His wisdom, created us with a natural sense of yearning for something beyond ourselves. From the moment we enter this world we seem to be trying to recapture an inner feeling of perfection and connection which we have lost. Throughout our lives we are prone to that sense of probing and pining. It is that search which keeps us motivated and infuses excitement, and sometimes extreme sadness, into our lives.

It seems that mankind will always be yearning and pining. But it remains up to us to decide what/who it is that we are yearning for.

Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos,

R’ Dani and Chani Staum