Lead with Patience

O holy Shabbes Inspirtation Vaera
Maqam Bayat/Nawa

Every Shabbat is associated with a musical figure called a *maqam,
Arabic cognate to Hebrew maqom, Place.

Our teacher said,
I am not a gifted speaker
I have stones in my mouth
my lips are covered
you know
inarticulate. [4:10, 6:12]

How are we to learn from him?

Lead with gentleness [Rashi]
be patient
tolerant
and to your detractors
speak with respect.

Balance —
To the qualities of strength confidence and courage
gevurah
on the left side
add patience
kindness
chesed
on the right side.

To the quality of stick-to-it-tiveness
netzach
on the right side
add gentleness and compassion
hod
on the left side.

Draw a line down the middle of your body with your thumb
move your hand up and down that line
there is your heart line
your balance
between left side and right side
there is your strength.

Lead with patience and understanding
speak with respect
even to your detractors
[especially to your detractors]

and find your center.

How To Build an Oud

How To Build An Oud

Take strips of fine wood
Pass on the indigenous Mediterranean woods
They are not fine enough
Go west and find guitar woods
The curly maples
The Brazilian rosewood
An venerable teacher next to the desert
Is warehousing wood away
He will sell it to you
If you convince him you have the eastern
Sensibility
To translate his western guitar woods
Into sound

Heat up the wood and stretch strips over a large gourd

Place inside the sound space
The sound of hooves from a distance
The sand flying in your face
The crack of a tree before it falls into water
The buzz of insects at night

Let the wood breathe enough
Before you cover the sound holes
With filigreed rosettes

Or put nothing over the sound holes
And with your ear

Listen to the belly of your instrument
For its beating

Heart

Commit

I heard you groaning
Your stoned
Smarting
Crying
Howling
Hurt

Thus I returned to your story [6:5]

first your pain
then your freedom

I will free you
I will deliver you
I will redeem you
I will take you to Me

I will bring you into the Land
which I swore to A,

but don’t be a schmoozer,
G said to M,
you know how I hate to be schmoozed.

jsg, usa

O holy Shabbes Inspirtation Vaera
Maqam Hoseini

Hoseini: D E flat F G

Every Shabbat is associated with a musical figure called a *maqam,
Arabic cognate to Hebrew maqom, Place.

The Philosopher Avicenna (d. 1037)
Identified 12 principal modes
Or maqamat
Singular maqam
From “place” (Arabic) Hebrew cognate Maqom.

Ethical and cosmological implications
Planets
Signs of zodiac
Times of day and night
Elements
Poetry
Poetic meter
Healings and treatments,

Each week a musical figure —

Maqam.

I Give You My Soul

I Give You My Soul

I am a turning soul, M says
I have no face
no body
nothing really
all I have is a soul
I give it to you
Here I am with my soul [3:4] in my hand
it’s all I have
[mesirat nefesh]
I give you my soul
that always saves me.

G says,

don’t worry yourselves
I give you my soul
I will be with you for the whole story
restore you
take you out from here
save you forever.
I give you my soul. [3:7-8]

We are saving each other with nothing
giving up our separate selves
handing over our souls
the only enduring offering —

ceasing to be
separate.

jsg, usa

O holy Shabbes Inspiration Shemot
Maqam Rast

C D E half-flat F

Every Shabbat is associated with a musical figure called a *maqam,

The Philosopher Avicenna (d. 1037)
Identified 12 principal modes
Or maqamat
Singular maqam
From “place” (Arabic) Hebrew cognate Maqom.

Ethical and cosmological implications
Planets
Signs of zodiac
Times of day and night
Elements
Poetry
Poetic meter
Healings and treatments,

Each week a musical figure —

Maqam.

I Invented Crooning

I Invented Crooning

It was the early days of radio
The vacuum tubes in the old crystal sets
Did not pick up the higher registers well
I went to the radio station
And brought the tunes to a lower register
And let the notes ring through in deeper tones

Microphones and the limitations of early radio
This is how crooning began
[it dominated popular singing]
Not only in the United
States
But overseas
In the former Soviet Union
For example
I was more popular there than here
Even

I made my living as a crooner
On the great lakes
Lake Erie
The boats out of Ashtabula

I sang for the gangsters
And worked simple card scams
Taught me by Mr. Lansky

We were paid in part by the excursion company
To entertain the guests and all
But we made most of our money
You know — Hustling

We all left in a hurry
Mr. Lansky went east
I went west

I settled in St. Louis
Where I was hired as a crooner
On one of the riverboats

I worked it same as I did
On Lake Erie

I sang on that boat ‘til they retired it
I sing for parties now
Here and there in restaurants
I often forget lyrics
I make them up

The melodies
I never forget

I live alone so I am
Singing
All the time

It’s a calling I suppose
Not like a
Job

The older I get
The more I am singing

It’s something I am
A crooner

And he lived, pt. 2

Vayechi
And he lived

Something else from Rashi
the portion is closed —
Jacob has something he wants to reveal to his children —

the end
but it was closed off to him [see midrash B.Rabbah 96:1]
[the end is a revelation
it’s the end of all Exile
the end of time]
he wanted to reveal to his children
ultimates
but they are closed off to him.

There are some elusives, unfinishables
at the end of life.
Jacob wants to give them over to his children
but he cannot.

What he does give over is blessings —
poetry, visions spoken in metaphor
but the ultimate redemption —
the end of time
reminds closed off to him.
S’tumah.

Jacob needs the assurance
he will be buried with his ancestors
Israel – not the place where his wife is buried
who he describes this way:
she died on me in the land of Canaan on the road [48:7]
died on me?
Something unfinished here too.

Closed off and elusive
visions dreams and songs
at the end of Jacob’s life
the end of Genesis
no ends at all, no beginnings
seams
the illusion of all endings all beginnings
all arrivals all starts
there is only journey and movement and the inevitable rise and fall
[no starts and stops at all]
it doesn’t begin and it doesn’t end
the great river that flows out of itself
into itself.

Seams
the death of Jacob
the death of Joseph
the end of Genesis
the narratives of the Mothers and Fathers
the beginning of Exile
closed –

a seam
no sides even
Jacob pulls up his legs and dies

what then –

jsg, usa

And he lived

Vayechi

Father Jacob is really living now
even in Egypt he is alive
we want to believe
as he dies
we want to know
life, real life, full life
can happen
anywhere
any time.

Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years
and the days of Jacob, the years of his life,
his two lives
were one hundred and forty seven years.
The time approached for Israel to die
so he called for his son, for Joseph
. . . [Gen.47:28-29]

His two lives were about over
the life of Jacob
the life of Israel
the man had two lives
sometimes Jacob
sometimes Israel
the giver the taker —

as he is about to die
[I am fishing around in the Torah
for the beginning of the section]
because it is closed
s’tumah
closed — no separation between this week’s text
and last week’s text — in the physical Torah.
Clue.

Go to the poet Rashi
the eyes of Israel [we the people]
were closed because of the passing of dear Jacob
and the crafty Egyptians were rolling the story
towards slavery.

Our decline a series of events
– can we enter the story and stop it at any place?
As you may stop the movement towards catastrophe –

As we can accelerate the movement
To redemption.

O holy Shabbes Inspiration Vayechi, part 1
Maqam Hijaz

D Eb F# G

Every Shabbat is associated with a musical figure called a *maqam,
Arabic cognate to Hebrew maqom, Place.

The Philosopher Avicenna (d. 1037)
Identified 12 principal modes
Or maqamat
Singular *maqam

Ethical and cosmological implications
Planets
Signs of zodiac
Times of day and night
Elements
Poetry
Poetic meter
Healings and treatments,

Each Torah portion is associated with a musical figure

Maqam.

Night Eight

Eight Angels Came to Me On Eight Nights
Each one told a story********

On the eighth night
I ran into an angel dressed as Prince at the grocery store.

He spoke this prayer,

I am alone with my shoes and still I cannot move.
One step and the world might cease to exist.

Let me know in some abstract non-abstract way
in my soul, that we’re safe.

Let me be wise myself, trust wisdom,
let’s be wise together.

Let my soul speak freely to my heart.
Let my mind yield now and again
so my soul might lead.

I am carrying my soul with me wherever I go.
Ahead: a field, a small house, a mountain,
I unpack my bag, take out a sandwich, make tea.

I reach in, pull up my soul —
It’s a mouth now, a pen, a stick,
a candle — an inwardliness, [Emerson on Prov.20:27]

the light that burns within [Ex.20:27]
always
the first light hidden away for the
future — [BT, Hag.12a]
it has taken the shape of prayers.

Save me, my soul.
Pick me up and lay me down,
carefully.

Rashi’s Plan for Peace

Rashi’s plan for Peace
From Vayigash (see Rashi to Genesis 45:24)

Joseph discloses himself to his brothers
You sold me out
I am Joseph your brother

The brothers are going home to reunite the family
Do not become agitated on the way [Gen. 45:24]
Says Joseph.
What do they have to become agitated about?

Rashi the poet —

Do not occupy yourselves with a matter of halakha [law]
Do not take long steps
Do not quarrel along the way about the matter of Joseph’s sale.
Rashi calls this the pshat [the plain sense].

Rashi’s plan for peace:

Don’t get theoretical
Stay away from general principles.
Make peace out of relationships,
person to person, not theory to theory.

Take small steps, one at a time, make peace manageable.
Peace will take time. Start with a treaty.
Start with a cessation of hostilities.

Peace starts now.
Stay out of the past,
out of guilt, recriminations,
who did what to whom,
begin the peace now.
Stay away from blame and shame.

Peace begins now.

rabbi jsg