Chanting & Chocolate is an evening of wordless melody and sacred Jewish chant followed by chocolate treats.
On the last Sunday of each month, 7:30-9 p.m., the Chanting & Chocolate Band guides us through an evening of uplifting chanting that brings clarity to the mind and expansiveness to the heart. The evening is dedicated to offering sacred Hebrew chanting as a form of meditation and ecstatic prayer on the path of the heart.
No prior knowledge of singing, chanting or Hebrew language is required. Lyric sheets are provided. All are welcome!
Donations accepted at the door (suggested $10) and all proceeds will go to support the education of Abayudaya orphans in Uganda.
Come for the chanting, stay for the home-baked triple-chocolate brownies!
Read Rabbi Hannah’s thoughts on song practice.
Thoughts on Song Practice
by Rabbi Hannah Dresner
After 40 years of journeying through the desert, Miriam, the great song and dance leader of Israel, dies, and the People thirst for water. Then, after Moses’s blunder striking a rock in impatience to quench their thirst, a well is discovered and the multitude sings together in honor of the miracle.
Can you imagine how dry our communal practice would be without the gift of song? Surely, we are a community with aptitude for discourse and languaged expression, but there is so much more that words cannot communicate – our deepest longings, our radical amazement, and our highest joy. Some truths don’t reside in the realm of reason and these we give voice to in melody and in the articulation of silence.
We are taught that God’s love of melody is such that God is perpetually serenaded by a choir of angels. It is these angels that we emulate in prayer. And we are taught that our voices stimulate God’s ratzon, God’s desire, God’s love.
The famous American-Canadian neuroscientist Daniel Levitan (who formerly produced and engineered the music of Joni Mitchell, Santana, The Grateful Dead, et al) explains (Your Brain on Music, 2006) that, with familiarity, a particular voice comes to be experienced as “intimate,” not just known and comfortable, but neuronal incorporated into our senses of self. He is speaking about the way the voices of beloved singers feel as if they reside within us, sing for us, and are a part of us.
I often wonder whether, if God hears enough of my voice, God might come to perceive my voice is part of who God is. This image has become a way I can envision God feeling connected to me. I imagine that when I sing God feels my unique vibration in God’s self. I am, sometimes, even so bold as to fancy God a little less lonely in such moments.
We offer a spiritual improvisation at Or Shalom that we call Chanting & Chocolate (this, because there are always triple chocolate brownies J). On the last Sunday evening of each month we gather to separate pure voice from the rivers of words that are our liturgy. Concentrating on melody, we let our souls sing and soar, pouring themselves out before the Throne of Glory. Whether you are a long-time participant, or will be new to the experience, I entreat you to join, lending your own spirit to the vitality of our expression.