As Jews, we’re deep into Sefiras Ha’Omer (the counting of the days of the Omer) now and for part of this time, we observe a period of mourning (commemorating the death of 24,000 of Rabbi Akiva z”l’s sudents). There are many minhagim (customs) in the matter of when, during the 49 days of the Omer, we mourn but everyone (who complies with the mourning restrictions on our activities) is mourning now and is restricting their behaviour accordingly.
One of the restrictions is that we are not permitted to listen to music. People interpret that restriction in different ways, for example, some people will not listen to any music at all whilst some others will not listen to live music but will listen to recorded music.
For me – and many others – the idea of not listening to music for most of the 49 days of the Omer is depressing, literally! Every year, I read the opinions of different Rabbis so as to ‘know’ what I can and can’t do vis a vis listening to music and this year I found a very insightful opinion based on a real understanding of how important music is to some people.
‘Surfing the net’, I came across this little gem (thanks to ‘Halachipedia’):
“If not listening to recorded music will result in depression, even the stringent authorities would permit it.”
(Hilchot Chag B’chag p.63, Halichot Shlomo, Moadim 2:11:14)
How wonderful and understanding is that ‘posek’ (a ‘decider’, a ruling, by a respected, academic authority as to what the halacha, the Jewish law, is on a subject in a situation when previous interpretations are inconclusive or when there is no precedent so no current interperation).
This posek shows a deep understanding of the affect of music on some people’s lives. Music has an absolute, tangible affect on me. It is ‘medicinal’. Music has a physiological affect on me, an effect on my physical and mental wellbeing.
I felt a bit flat this morning, not one of my alarm bells, nothing ‘heavy’, just a bit flat so I reached out for the music.
…over to my big pal, You Tube, and to the life-enhancing Michel Legrand and his wonderful composition, ‘Je Ne Pourrai Jamais Vivre Sans Toi’ – I could not live without you – (Michel wrote the music, Jacques Demy wrote the lyrics – Norman Gimbel wrote the English lyrics for the song [‘I Will Wait For You’])
This song, and Michel Le Grand’s performance, is one of my ‘go to’ places if I need a bit of a ‘pick me up’. It works. Michel and his band are LOVING what they are doing! Michel is in ‘the zone’, he is on high and he is throwing, like confetti, the joy over the audience and everyone watching today on You Tube. The performance builds throughout and he couldn’t finish on a bigger high. I was going to call it the perfect escape but it’s the opposite…it re-connects me with reality, it brings me back, it opens my mind’s eye to all the good stuff which I saw before I woke up this morning feeling flat. I watched and listened to this and I was transformed. Isn’t that wonderful, so easy and so effective?! The music fills me, I can feel it almost as if I’m playing it myself! I watch, I am connected to Michel and his music and I’m removed from whatever was making me feel flat.
The music and this performance reconnects me with all that’s good in the world.
If I can, I’ll post this in the ‘MUSIC’ section and the ‘LIFE’ section – it belongs in both.
Have a great day!