Finding the Notes for a New Song
In the heart of every person plays a song … It is the tune of the soul … Walls of questions conceal it … Is there a way to set it free again?
No one at the capital city could explain the King’s strange command: He had ordered that the army maneuvers be conducted right under his only daughter’s window! The princess was panic stricken when she awoke in the morning to the sounds of explossions and war. She bolted from her room screaming “Father! Father! Father!”. Only when the servants assured her she was safe did she calm down. Wow!
The reason behind this strange affair was known to just a few. The King ordered the ordeal as a last ditch effort to heal his only daughter. The daughter had been ignoring her father for a long time. She never lacked a thing. She never had to ask for anything and hardly even knew how to utter the word “Father”. She didn’t have to. She became so self-absorbed she became completely lonely. The only thing the King could do to relieve her of her plight was to create this false emergency. The fear and panic created feelings of gratitude for the deliverance and, thus, healed her. It gave her back the feeling of confidence and trust in her great Father.
This parable is brought in the medrash to explain the fear and terror that preceded the splitting of the Red Sea.
The Israelites are getting out of Egypt and the omnipotent Creator reveals his limitless love to his cherished children. He declares before the entire creation that they are His children, His favorite ‘Elder firstborn Israel’. And low and behold, on the cusp of crossing the mighty boundaries of nature and out of exile, the Great Father totally forsakes His children! Before them rages the sea…behind them arrows are raining down…and the desert closes in from the sides…there is no escape! Couldn’t the all-capable ruler of the world continue the miracle train and gotten us through the Red Sea without the fear? The answer was given with the parable of the medrash. The fear that preceded the splitting of the sea was a medicine that cured a deep dormant mental illness that held us back from calling out to Hashem. It didn’t let us lift our eyes to Heaven and sing to Him.
“Show me your countenance, let me hear your voice”, beseeches the all-merciful Father. Let me hear you voice. Become aware of my providence. The intimate embrace in the arms of emunah was the main miracle of the entire saga of Geulas Mitzraim. The fright enabled us to recognize Hashem anew as our past, present, and future Savior. The new ode was born from what seemed to be a colossal dereliction. There was no other way.
The Ode is the essence of the soul
The song of emunah that was sung on the shore of the Red Sea is humming in the heart of every Jew. Deep inside plays a magical melody of faith. It is a kind of silent prayer, a silent ode that the soul offers its maker. It is an innocent incantation of the inner point of the heart and of sweet surrender to the truth.
By most people this song is hidden. Countless self-denials and concealments hide it from our awareness. The soul begs us to be embraced by its Father in Heaven, alas, in vain. A foreign ill-wind of depression envelops it. And so, instead of praises we are filled with complaints. In place of longings, frustrated anger bubbles up. The daughter is jailed inside, unable to find the divine instrument to play her song.
Is there a way to release the song? Is there a way back home?
The answer is intrinsic to us a Jews. We’re called ‘עברים’ because of our innate ability to transcend (להתעלות אל מעבר) all obstacles and doubts. The ability is derived from the ‘Spirit of the Song of Emunah’ (Likutei Moharan 64). Melody is the main connector between man and his Creator, it is that powerful. Melody can connect the heart of a person, no matter where it may be, and give him back his soul and remind him of Hashem.
Melody as Medicine
We’re in the middle the שובבים weeks, a period when the soul is rectified. During this time the people of Israel toil in the ways of teshuvah in an effort to remove the barriers between themselves and their Father in Heaven. The goal is to hear the melody of emunah once again. The aim is to come back into the light of the soul and renew our immediate intimacy with the all-merciful father.
This ‘melody of emunah’ is the most important ingredient in our world. The melody is the soul that pulses in everything that we do. Torah, prayer, and the performance of mitzvos are all empty exercises, devoid of vitality and closeness to Hashem without it. The Tzaddikim are forever busy with healing of the souls of Israel. The ‘drugs’ they concoct to heal us are called a ‘melody’. The cure of our soul is hidden in the words of Rebbe Nachman.
If we were to internalize his words, this wondrous melody will be played within us almost by itself. It is the ‘new melody’ that will sound in the future we are all waiting for. It will give us the power to withstand all challenges. It will make it possible for us to realize our blemishes without being repulsed by our shame. The melody will then enter every holy word we utter. It will return us to the sweet memory of adhering to a living G-d. Indeed, when the melody of faith is playing inside the heart, one can hear the violin of King David playing at midnight. The lips can feel the sweetness of a page of Talmud, Tikkun Haklali and indeed every single blessing we make and prayer we offer.
But the melody isn’t constantly playing the sound of adhesion to Hashem and success. Sometimes the melody sinks to the depths of fear and oblivion. At such times, it looks like the melody has disappeared. But it must be remembered that it is the very nature of the melody to rise and descend. It cannot go forever upwards. It cannot keep repeating the same notes over and over again. If a person does whatever he can – be it a lot or a little – it brings him to the melody. At times, the merciful Father must bring His daughter to a state of fear. It the only way to awaken us from states of oblivion and refreshes the spirit from the coma of false wisdoms and theories.
We must bear in mind that the descent, the fear and the terror that surrounds our soul every day are exactly what brings us to this ‘new melody’. It is a secret one can recognize only by meditating on it as he reviews everything that transpires in his life. There is no way to renew the soul and restore the melody except trough descent. The horrible terror that was breathing down the necks of the Israelites as they came out of Egypt is what gave birth to the Ode of the Sea.
If we remember that we were cast into the fear and uncertainty by a loving Father who wants only our benefit and welfare, we will be able to turn every descent into the melody we have been searching for. Shabbos Shira is the time to renew the melody of the ‘Song of the Future’ – The melody of emunah and pure awe of G-d.