An Aliyah Harp Concert and Musical Event

andes-mountains-06An Aliyah Harp Concert and Musical Event

by Ariella Bracha Waldinger

Can you imagine having a harp concert in your home with its heavenly strains wafting through your airspace? It happened yesterday, in our beautiful home in Tzfat. I planned it specifically for Rosh Chodesh Sivan, the new, dynamic Jewish month of the giving of the Torah. I wanted something soulful and special for this auspicious day.

It was magical, soulful and yes, the harp concert was a definite Aliyah. I call it an Aliyah musical event because the word Aliyah means ascent and music by itself is always a big event because of its inherent transformative power. Additionally, every woman at the gathering had a soul ascent, while listening to the soulful strains of the new compositions of the Aliyah harpist. The harpist, Rachael Rosenbaum, was the guiding force behind the family making Aliyah.

As a result of the new soul she acquired when making Aliyah, and the spiritual fertility she tapped into, each of her compositions touches upon new soulful revelations which has been translated into both song and harp compositions. They were exquisite…an Aliyah gift from Hashem because He loves showering gifts upon His children when they come home.

I couldn’t stop gazing at the harp which is an instrument of sublime beauty. It has been revered throughout history for its heavenly sounds and it was in my home, lovingly played by an Aliyah musician, a woman who personifies the deeper aspects of inspiration embedded in the act of making Aliyah.  It was such a privilege and joy to listen to her soulful compositions in the presence of so many other women who had also embraced Aliyah.

Here are some of the titles of her compositions with explanations that follow: “Rest” She writes, “One afternoon, shortly after making Aliyah, I saw clouds in the sky that looked like a legion of angels flying together. I felt that G-d had sent them over our heads to protect us….like His hands over the heads of his children, blessing our choice to return home”. The tenor of this beautiful piece was gentle and ethereal…very mesmerizing.

Another piece was titled, “You and Your Nation.” Rachael writes about this piece: “A heartfelt, searching patchwork of a song written as an attempt to grasp for meaning in the darkness of the insane violence that has struck our people on the streets. Beseeching G-d for His protection as well as the clarity to stand up and do what is right, just, and nationally self-protective.” This piece swept you up with the feeling of a plaintive cry, yet it also had a majestic ring to it.

Another piece was titled, “Daughter of Israel” and she writes, “This is a joyful song about the role of the Jewish woman in leading her family home to the Holy Land! G-d has opened the door, Will you walk through?” This composition and song rang with a grand and powerful feeling and yet a questioning feeling too. It gave pause for reflection with the question….Why wouldn’t every Jew run through that door?

In a deeply insightful article, titled, “The Harp as an Instrument of Healing”, Julie Smith states the following:

“The music of the harp has a way of opening the heart. There are many technical reasons about how the vibrations of the harp can resonate with the body, but the more straightforward, compelling reason is that the harp has been shown to have the ability to open the heart. Music opens us in ways that are gentle and invisible. It is the back door to the soul. It slips in unannounced and is the Spirit’s vehicle or ambassador for communion and healing. Music bypasses barriers and resistances that we create emotionally and mentally and seems to be able to slip in and sit in witness with us as we navigate troubled waters. Music creates a type of entrainment that allows us to rise above current levels of functioning and brings us into harmony with a greater purpose and sense of being. The whole idea of harmony is that we are in tune with one another–that we fit into a greater picture–that we each sound a unique note and are able to participate in the greater symphonic work of at-one-moment. Music helps us to remember that we are one. It tunes us up and draws us together and in the process helps to heal our sense of separation.

In this sense, music can speak for us and through us when words fail and fall short. Music gives voice to the unspeakable through an instrument like the harp. The music of the harp creates an atmosphere of peace that sweeps away fear, depression, desperation, and hopelessness. It creates an opening for healing to take place.

When music opens the heart of a person it creates the space for healing to happen, and this is how music becomes the vehicle for healing, which is about creating spiritual wholeness.”

After reading her explanation of the deeper power of music in general and the harp in particular, I began to understand what had transpired at the Aliyah harp concert.

The artist through the strings of the harp itself, along with the words and music, opened up the women present and we began to express soulful concepts and beautiful flowing Torah concepts. It brought us such a sense of harmony and oneness. No one wanted the concert to end…it was a very deep experience. Perhaps because it was an intimate setting and everyone was vested in being present. As one woman would share a thought, in between songs, others would comment and add to the thoughts…it was definitely a symphonic at-one-moment as Julie Smith relates. The music absolutely created an atmosphere of peace and joy…it was palpable.

The stunning and very real concepts expressed by Julie Smith relating to music completely personify the experience of Aliyah, where the Nation of Israel, the Torah of Israel and the Land of Israel are one. Yes, unequivocally, Aliyah opens us up in soulful ways that are gentle and invisible, exactly like the harp…the only difference however is as Julie Smith stated, whereas music is the back door to the soul, Aliyah is the front door to the soul…..Rachael Rosenbaum showed us that clearly in her Aliyah harp concert, as her soul spirited music moved us upwards to heavenly realms and kept us earth-bound to our Jewish oneness. It felt great. Wish you could have been here!

May we speedily merit to hear the strains of the Leviim in the Beit haMikdash

Rachael is currently living in Ma’alot and her email is wellspringsing@gmail.com.

She is available for concerts.

The gift of a Miracle on the Wings of Purim

The gift of a Miracle on the Wings of Purim

greylaughingdovesI am sitting at a beautiful white desk in my pink home office in our beautiful home in Tzfat, Israel, staring out the window at two soft grey-brown laughing doves. Their name brings a smile to my face. The laughing dove is a slim, long tailed, graceful pigeon. It is pinkish brown on its underbelly with a soft lilac tinged head and neck.  The upper parts are brownish with a blue-grey band along the wing. Pigeons belong to the same family as doves as they share many characteristics. Birds have long been viewed as winged, celestial messengers and I can understand why.

These lovely sweet faced birds appeared RIGHT AFTER I received the fabulous news that my body scan, in search of cancer, was clean. My body is clear of the dreaded enemy that cuts down many lives. (See my March 5th Blog story about my lung surgery in the essay titled, “Divine Providence at its finest”).  I felt the news penetrate to the core of my being and it reverberated through my body producing copious tears of the deepest gratitude. I looked up to the heavens and thanked The King of Kings.

Most of you, who have been reading my blog, know that I completely believe and understand on a deep level, that nothing in our lives happens by accident!  G-d runs the world! The timing of this occurrence was so extraordinary because it followed so soon after we had completed the reading of Megilat Esther…the scroll of Esther. This scroll tells the Purim story which celebrates the complete turn-around of the nation’s survival in the wake of a plan of complete destruction by Haman. Haman, the arch enemy of the Jews is hung on the very same gallows he planned to use for the Jew Mordechai, who helped save the Jewish people. He and Queen Esther were the loyal Jews who upheld G-ds honor by performing deeds of enormous self sacrifice.  The story pulses with evidence of G-ds behind the scenes salvation and clearly reveals His intimate involvement in every moment of our lives and the lives of His nation. 

What was so extraordinary and full of Divine Providence was that I expected the scan results to arrive in the mail, but they did not. Therefore, I decided to phone and see if I could reach someone as I was, quite naturally, anxious. Normally it is impossible to reach a specialty department of the hospital by telephone. Not only did I get through on the first attempt but I spoke to one of the few people who speaks English and I remembered her name and she remembered mine. She knew the results and told me right away.  She was as happy as I and we both kept praising Hashem and thanking Him.  IT was so sweet…..so soul nourishing.  Wow!  Then she was kind enough to fax my results, so that I would have them to take to the upcoming oncologist appointment. And so, here I was once again with concrete proof of G-ds loving kindness and His Divine Providence in my personal life story.

The results put me in a reflective mood and I found myself staring at these gentle-faced birds perched on the tree directly in front of my office. Suddenly with a flash of intuition, I decided to look up their metaphysical meaning.  I have read that animals can relay messages of healing to anyone astute enough to to understand their teachings. I have come to honor every living creature as a teacher and I have been abundantly rewarded by the inherent, unique wisdom of these precious animal messengers. Once I began to read what the doves represent, I really cried and you will see why.

The dove has been recognized as a symbol of love and peace by numerous religious groups since ancient times. Various articles on the meaning of doves and pigeons suggest that the dove elicits a promise of hope and salvation. The dove with the soft hue of its body and gentle cooing sound represents comfort and reassurance. Its docile appearance leads to thoughts of softness and tenderness which are symbols of love. The pigeon represent determination and communication as they have been used over the centuries for carrying messages and revealing secrets

I was in awe of the revelations and messages these lovely, gentle creatures brought to me as a precious gift. They stayed for quite awhile perched on the branch of a beautiful, paulownia tree (one of the fastest growing flowering trees in the world). I heard the sweet cooing of their birdsong and let its melody caress my heart and soul knowing that its message was a gift from G-d.  In other words, G-d Himself was comforting me, and reassuring me not only through the good news of the medical report but additionally through the birds and their messages. The Torah teaches that the more you believe in the truth of G-ds Divine Providence, the more He reveals Himself to you. How exquisite! I truly delight in expanding my knowledge in the realm of nature…..it brings me great satisfaction.

On another topic, speaking of animals and their hidden messages, I want to share with you an interesting insight. This year was the best Purim for me and my costume played a key role. After recovering from my surgery and going through some emotional ups and downs, I embraced the holiday like a long lost love.  I felt an enormous sense of inner joy and awe for my current state of well being and I wanted to manifest my gratitude by creating a day of bountiful good will.  I must confess, I still love playing dress up and wearing a costume suits me just fine.

ABPurim5774This year I decided to be a bumble bee. I chose the costume because I had some of the accessories and I could inexpensively buy a few more items to complete it.  But on a deeper level, I have heard it stated that the costumes we choose to wear are an expression of a hidden inner dynamic waiting to be revealed.  I have recognized this to be true of my costume choices over the years and this year was no exception. A bee represents love, loyalty and hidden wisdom. The bee reminds us to extract the honey from life and savor it and they instruct us us to make our lives fertile (productive). They are a powerful symbol of accomplishing anything you put your mind to and they represent prosperity. They are organizers and they have tremendous drive. They represent the sweetness of life. I was so touched by the revelation of this powerful teaching that throughout the holiday from start to finish I was buzzing all over the city handing out goodies spontaneously to anyone and everyone we happened upon: a mom and kids walking down the street, a soldier catching the bus, a young man needing a ride, the street sweeper and on and on.  My bee costume brought joy and laughter to the elderly friends we visited and it made me smile from the inside out. BEING JOYFUL CAN DO THAT.

I Bless you all, that you should savor life, your health, your precious body, your wondrous Divine soul, your family, your friends, G-ds creatures, and G-d Himself and your connections to HIM. DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING FOR GRANTED AND KEEP YOU EYES ATTUNED TO THE WONDERS OF THE KING OF KINGS. HE LOVES YOU MORE THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE AND HE IS ALWAYS WITH YOU!

With Blessings of love, light and laughter, Ariella Bracha