...so that my soul may sing to THE ONE and not be silent

Psalm 30:13

SHIYR Psalm 30

A few posts back, I shared a thought from Making Prayer Real on the idea of music as “prayer in itself, without the words attached” (Wordless Verses“) along with a largely instrumental piece based on a tune for few verses from Psalm 30. More on that specific tune to come. Meanwhile, here is a contrasting […]

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Dedication

The previous post looked at some of the “bridge” concepts employed to explain Psalm 30’s function in its regular liturgical spot, at the close of the morning blessings, and before the psalms/verses of song. Another explanation for the placement of Psalm 30 is that it was the “psalm of the day” for the holiday of […]

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Prayer Bridge

Many teachers characterize Psalm 30 as a “bridge” between the section of early morning blessings — which is concluded, in Ashkenazi prayer books, by Psalm 30 and the kaddish — and the next section of the liturgy, P’sukei D’zimrah [Verses of Song]. Given the placement, the concept is not surprising. What’s interesting, though, is how […]

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Wordless Verses

“Music touches us in a place that’s beyond the rational mind, and it reaches into the heart.” Those who recognize the tune and its connection to Psalm 30 will likely have a different experience listening than those who don’t. Share your responses!

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The House and First Fruits

The Mishnah reports that Psalm 30, or at least its opening verse, was recited by the Levites when worshippers brought First Fruits: THE FLUTE WAS PLAYING BEFORE THEM TILL THEY REACHED THE TEMPLE MOUNT; AND WHEN THEY REACHED THE TEMPLE MOUNT EVEN KING AGRIPPA WOULD TAKE THE BASKET AND PLACE IT ON HIS SHOULDER AND […]

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The House: Soul’s Abode

Ambiguities and outright confusions abound in teaching about Psalm 30. It begins with argument about possible meanings of its superscription — “A Psalm; a Song at the Dedication of the House; of David” — and how this relates to subsequent content. This blog has already touch on some ideas about which “house” is meant and […]

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The House: Bricks and Mortar?

Psalm 30 begins with the superscription: “Dedication of the House” — מִזְמוֹר: שִׁיר-חֲנֻכַּת הַבַּיִת לְדָוִד. mizmor: shir-chanukat ha-bayit l’David A Psalm; a Song at the Dedication of the House; of David. Which House? Some bricks and mortar possibilities, per The Jerusalem Commentary: First Temple: “The commentators disagree about which dedication and which “house” the psalm […]

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The Whole Nine Yards?

Following yesterday’s post about the hiddenness of God, alluded to in Psalm 30:8, here is a comment about prevalence of God’s name in the psalm: Psalm 30 was added to the liturgy in the 17th century under the influence of Lurianic mysticism. It mentions the name of God ten times, and Jewish mystics saw in […]

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Where God is Hidden

No one knows where God is hidden. Not even the ministering angels who tend God’s Throne of Glory know where God can be found, nor do the heavenly creatures who carry the Throne, for God has encircled Himself with darkness and cloud all around, as it is said, He made darkness his screen (Ps. 18:12). […]

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Rosetta, Miami Temple, and the Winter Jews

As a child singing in front of a choir, Rosetta Nubin was forbidden by her mother to bend over and pick up coins tossed at her by white visitors to the church. She discovered by accident, however, that a large brimmed hat could collect coins without her bending or her mother’s knowledge. This particular recollection, […]

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The Well of Sight, Seeing, Seen

“Ishmael, Isaac, and a Reunion of Cousins” raised questions about what it means for Isaac to settle at Beer Lahai Roi, the wellspring that is already home to Ishmael, after the brothers have buried their father, Abraham. The Shalom Center proposes bringing this story (Gen 25:7-11) into the Days of Awe to suggest “turning and […]

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A Song of Reward and Punishment

Exploring Babylon Chapter 22 Here is further response to a long-ago comment of Max Ticktin (z”l), based on the words of Jeremiah and in a sort of homage to Leonard Cohen. “Has this song gone on too long? A song of reward and punishment for exiles in Babylon and elsewhere” The theme repeats again and […]

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Dick Gregory and Rabbis Under Rome

“Joseph found out it’s dangerous to be a dreamer….Or sell the dreamer into slavery; purchase the dream with foundation grants or government deals…” Dick Gregory, in 1974, sounded a whole lot like Rabbis under Roman rule.

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Warring Nations, Sibling Tears

The Torah portion Toldot (Gen. 25:19 – 28:9) illustrates the struggles of nations and individuals. We are simultaneously the inheritors of this mess and the participants – all of them – in the heart-breaking. So, I want to look at the sad state we’re in and see if we can find a way through by […]

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Foreign and Familiar

In this week’s Torah portion, two of the central characters receive new names: Abram becomes Abraham (Gen 17:4), and Sarai, Sarah (17:15). God announces this to Abraham as part of a statement of the covenant between them. Both Abraham אַבְרָהָם and Sarah שָׂרָה now have a “ה” (hey) in their names. Thus, each now carries […]

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Traveling With Jonah: Pre-Yom Kippur Thoughts

By the time we approach minchah on Yom Kippur afternoon, we have been through the month of Elul, Selichot prayers, Rosh Hashanah, and a substantial portion of the Day of Atonement. The role that the Book of Jonah plays at that point is one thing. But I’ve been wondering if it might not be of […]

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Tzipporah’s Eye View at the DC Sermon Slam

I have always lived among priests and prophets. I know that some divine encounters prove more terrifying than illuminating. And I believe there is much to be learned about Revelation by turning away from Sinai’s thunder and lightening. Consider for a moment that time Miriam and Aaron complained about Moses and his black wife and […]

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Babylon and 929

Babylon — in fact, “The Three ‘Bavels’” — is featured this past week on the English portal for “929,” chapter-a-day study in the Hebrew Bible: The place name, בבל, bavel can refer to: Babel, Babylon, or Babylonia. Each of these ancient “Bavels” suggests a model for the 21st century…. The rise of Bavel/Babylonia was a […]

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Now What? Exploring Babylon Stage Two

I launched the “Exploring Babylon” project on this blog in October 2017. Stage One was to run for roughly 40 weeks, from Sukkot through Tisha B’av. WordPress statistics tell me that I’ve posted 40 times in the category, “Exploring Babylon,” although not entirely on the weekly schedule I’d originally planned, and Tisha B’av is fast […]

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Strange and Familiar

Exploring Babylon Chapter 23 Although just published (May 2018), Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” was completed in 1931, based on work begun in the 1920s. Zora Neale Hurston’s Barracoon relates the story of a West African and his experience, before, during, and after U.S. slavery. Some of the content, as well as […]

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A Song of Reward and Punishment

Exploring Babylon Chapter 22 Here is further response to a long-ago comment of Max Ticktin (z”l), based on the words of Jeremiah and in a sort of homage to Leonard Cohen. “Has this song gone on too long? A song of reward and punishment for exiles in Babylon and elsewhere” The theme repeats again and […]

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Notes on Jeremiah: Max Ticktin’s Scribbles

Exploring Babylon Chapter 21 Several updates below. In addition to the many other things he left us, Max Ticktin z”l (1920-2016) left behind a lot of books, and his family kindly offered them to interested community members. Some of the volumes I inherited this way are from a Tanakh that was re-bound, as a gift […]

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