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Essays on Issues, Ideas and Reflections on the Times. Published now and
then. Opinions pro or con are welcome.

I Just Sing the Words

North Miami Beach, FL September 29, 2009
A.H. Schectman

          Because I sing in a Temple Choir which Carol and I have done for all of our life together, I have learned the words of the rituals of weekly services and as demonstrated on this High Holy Days of Awe of 5770, I have performed adequately

But I feel a bit disconnected because, while I can read the Hebrew and know it is prayer, I do not pray and feel that something is wrong.

            I just sing the words but have trouble when some of the words look different on the page from those in my memory.  Carol and I were in Temple Sunday night and sang along with the professional quartet, who seemed to know the music just fine.

            I have come to the conclusion that I know the rituals and prayers because of the music. I suspect that putting melody to words make the learning go more easily. Since I am not a musician I feel more comfortable in singing the base part if one of the two experienced choir members sing next to me.  They each have a command of the Hebrew that I do not and can sing the entire repertoire from memory.

            The Services are all about praying and I am missing the connection to the almighty God to whom the prayers are directd. I have never felt a need to ask for forgiveness or help to get something I badly wanted. I have never tried to speak to or with God without a congregation surrounding me. So, I have not established an all important relationship.  I just sing the words.

            It isn't easy singing the evening before an all day of services while fastng. I think the most egregious part is all that standing. Sitting down was a relief.  I wonder if God insists on so much getting up and down. I'm not complaining.  I have this need to explore the reality of a faith without belief although, in reality I do sing the words that some piously mouth. I wonder if they have ever had chats with the Deity.


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