Ps. 126: Shir Hama'alot (Rising Song)
Musician, composer, and teacher Joey Weisenberg is the founder and co-director of Hadar’s Rising Song Institute, which aims to cultivate the grassroots musical-spiritual creativity of the Jewish people. He is the author of The Torah of Music (2017 winner of the National Jewish Book Award) and Building Singing Communities, and he has released seven albums with the Hadar Ensemble, most recently Nigunim, Vol. VII: Songs of Ascent (2019).
The texts and singing on my seventh album, Nigunim, Vol. VII: Songs of Ascent, named after Psalm 126, explore the full emotional range of human experience as we attempt to climb from the pits of despair and tears to ascend the dream musical ladder that connects Earth to Heaven. This music is at times rapturous and ecstatic and at other times deeply sad. In recording Shir Hama'alot, which means "Song of Ascent," or "Rising Song," we tried to capture the journey from the depths of sadness to the heights of musical joy. "Hazorim b'dimah, those who sow in tears, b'rina yiksoru, will reap in joyous song." This process requires imagination, it asks us to be k'cholmim, like dreamers. Music is the catalyst for dreaming. When we put our heads down on the rock of this earth and we dream of the sulam, of the musical ladder which connects the Heavens and the Earth, we become like angels that traverse from the lowest to the highest, ascending on the wings of musical prayer. At the end of that journey, we, like the angels, need to come back down the ladder of song, bringing our newfound visions and passions back into the world, which so desperately needs our songs and dreams. That is what the Rising Song Institute is here for. Please explore more at risingsong.org, and if you would like to learn how to sing a nigun, please go to joeyweisenberg.com.
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The opinions contained in this piece are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Youth Core. Interfaith America encourages a wide range of views and strives to maintain a respectful tone with a goal of greater understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions.