11/9/19—Shalom and welcome to this week’s edition of Shirim L’Hazzan. Now that all of the major Fall holidays are over, I would like to shift our focus to music and tefillah that occur on a weekly basis. Of course, I am referring to Shabbat! Very soon we will be celebrating our New Member Shabbat as well as participating in the nationwide initiative known as The Shabbat Project, both of which are happening next Shabbat November 15-16. To help us celebrate, I would like to introduce a new melody for the tefillah Or Zarua which can be found in the Kabbalat Shabbat service on Friday nights.
When I was the hazzan of my previous synagogue in Florida, I was involved in teaching tefillot to the Hebrew school, just as I am here at Beth El. At the time of my hiring, I was told that the Hebrew school community did not particularly like any of the existing melodies for Or Zarua so I set about composing my own. This melody was introduced in 2014 and to my knowledge. is still used today. Upon checking that synagogue’s online tefillot resources, I have found that my successor has re-recorded the melody (to fit her voice) and that it is still being taught in that community.
It is my wish that my setting of Or Zarua continues to permeate throughout the Jewish world and what better place than to start in Phoenix! I will start by teaching and introducing the melody to you next Shabbat but until then, please enjoy listening, singing, and learning it in the days leading up to its debut.
Todah V’Zimrah,Cantor Angress
אוֹר זָרֻעַ לַצַּדִּיק וּלְיִשְׁרֵי-לֵב שִׂמְחָה
שִׂמְחוּ צַדִּיקִים בַּיהוָה וְהוֹדוּ לְזֵכֶר קָדְשׁוֹ
Or Zarua Latzadik Ul’yishrei Lev SimchaSimchu Tzadikim B’Adonai V’hodu L’zecher Kodsho
10/12/19–Shalom and welcome to this week’s edition of Shirim L’Hazzan – Songs from the Cantor. Now that we have concluded the High Holidays, we are gearing up for the first of the Shalosh Reglaim – The Three Festivals, Sukkot. On Sukkot, we wave the lulav and the etrog during services, specifically during the joyous and upbeat Hallel service. There are two places in Hallel where we wave the four species. The first place is during Hodu L’Adonai where instead of singing this section congregationally, the hazzan chants each verse individually and the congregation responds with the verse of: “Hodu L’Adonai Ki Tov, Ki L’olam Hasdo”. And it is during this response that the congregation also waves their lulavim and etrogim.
The melody used during the waving of the four species is known as the na’anu’im melody. Most sources attribute this melody as “Mi-Sinai”. When a melody is attributed as such, it means that the original source of the melody is unknown, rather than it coming directly from Mount Sinai.
I hope that you will be able to join us at the beginning of next week for our Sukkot services where you will be able to hear this na’anu’im melody and have the opportunity to partake in the mitzvah of taking and waving the four species.
.הֹדוּ לַה׳ כִּי טוֹב, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ
Hodu L’Adonai Ki Tov, Ki L’olam Hasdo.
10/4/19—Shalom and welcome to this week’s edition of Shirim L’Hazzan – Songs from the Cantor. As we prepare to enter Shabbat Shuva this evening and then Yom Kippur next week, I am reminded of how awe-inspiring it is to have reached this season every year. On Erev Yom Kippur, Kol Nidrei is recited three times in order to nullify any promises and vows that were made this past year. As soon as Kol Nidrei is recited, we then recite the b’racha of Shehecheyanu. Normally this b’racha is recited on more “joyous” occasions, particularly when celebrating a simcha. However, we also recite it on Yom Kippur. Why? So that we may thank God for sustaining us and allowing us to reach the moment of being able to do teshuva.
This week’s melody is written by Cantor Ralph Schlossberg who served as hazzan of Temple Beth Sholom in Roslyn Heights, NY from 1971-1978 and then continued to freelance in New York City. I was first introduced to this melody when singing in the professional choir of my home synagogue in Florida when I was 14 years old. Even though I sang the baritone part, it was very easy to learn the cantor’s part and I have been singing this melody ever since.
It is my hope that this melody will bring you peace and comfort during Yom Kippur and may we all be sealed in the Book of Life.
G’mar Chatima Tovah, Cantor Angress
.בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמָן הַזֶּה
Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech Ha’olam, Shehecheyanu V’kiy’manu V’higiyanu Laz’man Hazeh.
9/27/19—Shalom and welcome to this week’s edition of Shirim L’Hazzan- Songs from the Cantor. This week’s melody is for one of the most well-known tefillot on the High Holidays, B’rosh Hashanah. “On Rosh Hashanah it is written, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed.” The entirety of the tefillah helps put us in a frame of mind as to what may happen in the coming year.
This week’s melody is written by the Israeli cantor composer Meir Finkelstein. His compositions are used widely throughout the Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist movements of Judaism. Here at Beth El, we often use his setting of L’dor Vador on Shabbat mornings.
Finkelstein’s setting of B’rosh Hashanah is used in almost every Conservative congregation in the U.S. The melody provides us with a calming feeling, almost as if the tune is a lullaby. While Finkelstein’s composition is written for the entirety of B’rosh Hashanah, it is sometimes more practical to use the tune for just the refrain.
Please keep an ear out for Finkelstein’s B’rosh Hashanah on the 1st day of Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur.
Shanah Tovah U’metukah,
.בְּרֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה יִכָּתֵבוּן, וּבְיוֹם צוֹם כִּפּוּר יֵחָתֵמוּן
B’rosh Hashanah Yikateivun, Uv’yom Tzom Kippur Yeichateimun.
9/20/19—Shalom and welcome to this week’s edition of Shirim L’Hazzan – Songs from the Cantor! This week’s selection is Adonai Adonai which is a central liturgical theme throughout the High Holidays. Beginning this Saturday evening during our Selichot service, we are introduced to Adonai Adonai for the first time this High Holiday season. The text comes directly from the book of Exodus, chapter 34, verses 6-7. The text is also found during the Torah service both on the Shalosh Regalim (Pesach, Sukkot, and Shavuot) as well as the High Holidays. On Yom Kippur, the text is also included in each service.
The musical setting included in this week’s recording is composed by Polish-born German Jewish composer, Louis Lewandowski. Lewandowski was the composer and choir director of the Neue Synagoge in Berlin around 1866 and his compositions are akin to the major composers of the time such as Franz Schubert. Lewandowski’s melodies have transcended time, geography, and a multitude of Jewish communities as many of them are still used today in most American synagogues. The melodies most commonly used for Tzadik Katamar and the Friday evening Kiddush were written by Lewandowski.
You will be able to hear Lewandowski’s setting of Adonai Adonai this Saturday night during our Musical Selichot Service at 8:30 pm as well as intermittently throughout Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. I hope you will enjoy listening to and learning this melody as we quickly approach the High Holidays.
יְהוָ֣ה יְהוָ֔ה אֵ֥ל רַח֖וּם וְחַנּ֑וּן אֶ֥רֶךְ אַפַּ֖יִם וְרַב־חֶ֥סֶד וֶאֱמֶֽת
נֹצֵ֥ר חֶ֙סֶד֙ לָאֲלָפִ֔ים נֹשֵׂ֥א עָון וָפֶ֖שַׁע וְחַטָּאָ֑ה וְנַקֵּה֙
Adonai Adonai Eil Rachum V’chanun Erech Apayim V’rav Chesed V’emet
Notzeir Chesed La’alafim Nosei Avon Vafesha V’chata’ah V’nakei
9/13/19—Shalom and welcome to Shirim L’Hazzan – Songs from the Cantor, a weekly musical message especially for you!
Every week I will include a melody from our tradition to be shared with you. The title for this week’s song is Achat Sha’alti. This song comes from Psalm 27 which we recite during the month of Elul, preceding Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. In this song, we ask to dwell in the house of God, all the days of our lives and that we may be blessed with God’s graciousness and be able to enter God’s sanctuary. The melody is attributed to an individual by the name of I. Katz and was published in an anthology of Chassidic melodies by Velvel Pasternak between 1968 and 1971. I hope you enjoy listening to this melody and I invite you to sing along it along with me during our tefillah together!
אַחַת שָׁאַלְתִּי מֵאֵת יְהוָה אוֹתָהּ אֲבַקֵּשׁ
שִׁבְתִּי בְּבֵית יְהוָה כָּל-יְמֵי חַיַּי
לַחֲזוֹת בְּנֹעַם יְהוָה וּלְבַקֵּר בְּהֵיכָלוֹ
Achat sha’alti mei’eit Adonai otah avakeish
Shivti b’veit Adonai kol y’mei chayai
Lachazot b’noam Adonai ul’vaker b’heichalo