Music is life; life is music. I simply cannot conceive of life without the energy and wisdom of music wrapping me in it’s embrace. So whenever there is a chance to reflect on music in my life as a Jew, I can’t pass it up. And this week’s portion gives me such a chance.
We read how God tells Moses to make trumpets (you can read the text here). These trumpets however are not for entertainment; they are to be used as a means for our leadership to communicate with us at moments of great importance: gathering together, going to war, celebrating victory and at other times as well.
The text instructs us about which notes which should be blown on these trumpets. There were two: the tekiah, or a long monotonous sound and the teruah, a staccato, broken, wavering note. Quite telling are the instructions regarding when these notes are blown: when the people must be summoned to gather together, the bold, brash tekiah is blown. When they travel out of the encampment they are instructed to blow a teruah.
In short, triumphant exclamation when we gather; broken, wavering note when we travel.
What can we learn from this?
For me the take away is that life requires a sound track. Coming together and reunions are jubilant moments; moments when we can toot our horn, knowing full well that nothing compares to coming together. Go great is gathering together that Heaven is nearly helpless against us.
Yet, when we journey forward, as we surely must, we bear in mind the risks which should fill us with humility: Must we go? Are we really ready? What can we do to make sure that we will once again come together? That is a time for the broken staccato of the teruah.
Because only fools rush forward.
Have a day filled with beautiful music.