Saturday, March 08, 2008

A Musical Interlude

Every time I mark the end of Shabbat by a Havdalah service with friends, I realize what a special time it is and tell myself we should do it every week. Today’s celebration was bittersweet as those of us in the Temple Micah choir sang for a member “emeritus” who suffers from Parkinson’s disease.

Many of us remembered the last time we had gathered at someone’s house for a similar service. It was another bass who had ALS and is no longer with us.

Today we sang a number of our very best songs, leaving out the Debbie Friedman ones by request of the family. But there were plenty of songs Richard knew and loved. His eyes filled with tears as he listened and sang along.

We ate wonderful homemade sweets as Richard reminisced about his many years in the choir. He named off the old faithfuls, many of whom are no longer in the choir. You could tell the music held a special place in his heart.

We then turned our attention to bidding the Sabbath goodbye with the familiar Havdalah songs, the lighting of a braided candle, and the smelling of a container of spices. After the burning candle was plunged into a cup of wine, we sang Shavua Tov as we wished each other a good coming week.

Since we measure our lives in weeks, it seems so fitting to mark the end of one and the beginning of the next in a celebration that finds arms linked and bodies swaying as the candle burns.

I’m happy the choir could lift the spirits of Richard and his wife as they struggle with his debilitating disease. It made me hope when it’s my turn I don’t have to watch my body deteriorate while my mind stays alert and active. It’s a hard way to go.

2 Comments:

Anonymous dsquared said...

I can't believe I'm the first to comment on this post. It was a special, touching, musically uplifting event. Some things are really almost impossible to describe. This is sort of in that "guess you hda to be there" category.

11:16 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Dsquared -- Exactly.

11:27 PM  

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