With Song and Dance

In this week’s parsha, Parshas Korach, we learn of the rebellion of Korach and his congregation, as they hope to overthrow the leadership of Moshe and Aharon.  The rebellion stems from Korach’s jealousy of his first cousins: Moshe is the king, Aharon the High Priest, Elitzafan the prince…and Korach?  A plain Levi! 

Fueled by his jealousy and desire for honor, Korach gathers two hundred and fifty-three men to join him, as they seek to bring down Moshe and Aharon.

As he attempts to quell the rebellion and reason with Korach, Moshe says: Is it not enough for you (Korach) that the G-d of Israel has separated you from the assembly of Israel to draw you near to Him, to perform the service in the Mishkan Hashem, וְלַעֲמֹד לִפְנֵי הָעֵדָה, לְשָׁרְתָם – and to stand before the assembly to serve them!? (Bamidbar 16:9)

Take pride in your tafkid Korach!  Excel in your Divinely assigned mission!  Do not worry about the grandeur of others or be jealous of them.  You are not just a “plain Levi,” you are from the chosen tribe of Levi, whose men serve in the Sanctuary of Hashem!  Is this not enough for you!?

As the Sages wisely teach: איזהו עשיר? השמח בחלק – Who is a wealthy man?  One who is satisfied with his own lot in life (Pirkei Avos 4:1). 

On the words וְלַעֲמֹד לִפְנֵי הָעֵדָה – and to stand before the assembly, Rashi teaches: לָשִׁיר עַל הַדּוּכָן – to sing on the platform.  This refers to the service of song, an integral part of the avodas Hashem that was performed by the Leviim in the Mishkan/Mikdash

We can derive a beautiful lesson from this Rashi.  All aspects of life, all middos we possess, all strengths we are endowed with, when utilized properly and channeled appropriately, can become part and parcel of our avodas Hashem.  Even song, the power of music to stir the soul, is an integral part of serving the Almighty.  We must take our G-dly given gifts – all of them – and use them to serve Him, and the nation, well. 

With the right kavanos, our music, our songs, and our dances can reach the highest heights of Heaven and the deepest recesses of the soul.

As the Egyptians drowned in the churning waters of the Reed Sea…וַתִּקַּח מִרְיָם הַנְּבִיאָה אֲחוֹת אַהֲרֹן, אֶת-הַתֹּף–בְּיָדָהּ; וַתֵּצֶאןָ כָל-הַנָּשִׁים אַחֲרֶיהָ, בְּתֻפִּים וּבִמְחֹלֹת – And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aharon, took the tambourine in her hand, and all the women went after her, with tambourines and dances; And Miriam answered them with song and said, ‘Sing to Hashem for He is Exalted over the exalted, horse and rider He threw into the sea.’ (Ex.15:20-21)

Hallel Yaffa Ariel HY”D, 13 years old, was murdered last Thursday morning (6.30.16), as she slept in her bed in the holy city of Kiryat Arba.  Hallel had been out late the night before at a dance recital.

Hallel’s dance instructor, Esther Marom, eulogized her student — a “princess in white” — who had “a penetrating gaze and a stormy silence about her.  Yesterday, like a white bird, you danced the dance of your life,” Marom said.

Hallel’s mother, Rena, gave a heartbreaking eulogy for her slain daughter: “Father, how do you eulogize a 13-and-a-half-year old girl? What words can be used to eulogize a flower, a pure soul, a girl of strength, a beautiful girl? You had a crown of light. You made me a mother. I was privileged. Thirteen and a half years, Father, You left [her] in my charge. I’m returning her to Your charge with love, with faith. Take, Father, take my charge. But know this: Halleli has reached the heavenly throne, but Father, it’s crowded there, people from Kiryat Arba fill it up. There’s no more room, Father. There’s no more room. I’m begging that Hallel be the last victim. Enough!

“Sarah our matriarch, embrace her, because I, her mother, can never touch her [again].  And Miriam, make some room for her near the heavenly throne so Hallel can dance. And Rivka and Rachel and Tamar and Esther — embrace Hallel.

“I did the best I could. Hallel had the privilege of a mother and a father and …now she is privileged with You, and Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Take care of her, Father. I’m returning her to you. My job is done.

“But I can’t be satisfied with that. I’m standing here with my hurting heart…We are strong, we are here. נֵצַח יִשְׂרָאֵל, לֹא יְשַׁקֵּר -The glory of Israel will never lie. We will continue on, Halleli. My [personal] Temple has been destroyed, sweetheart, but G-d gave us the strength to settle on this hill, to aspire to build G-d’s house… And I’m saying here, Halleli, see you later, sweetie. Take a last hug from mom. Father, the shipment has arrived, I’ve finished my job.  Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad.”

וְלַעֲמֹד לִפְנֵי הָעֵדָה – and to stand before the assembly: לָשִׁיר עַל הַדּוּכָן – to sing on the platform

Dovid Ha’Melech reminds us that as long as we live, we can, we must, we are compelled to sing, to dance, to rejoice before Him with all of our strength.  For in our avodas Hashem, each one of us must sing and dance the dance of our lives… אשירה לה׳ בחיי אזמרה לאלקי בעודי – I shall sing to Hashem while I am alive; I shall sing praises to my G-d as long as I exist (Ps.104:33).

May we merit a Tammuz of comfort and simcha for our people and our Land. 

,בברכת חודש טוב ושבת שלום


1 Comment
  • Carol
    Posted at 09:50h, 07 July

    When experiencing intense pain and loss, reaching a level of dancing and singing is almost humanly impossible. To witness someone who can achieve this level, is so humbling.
    Powerful and so emotional.