Torah for This Hour | April 25, 2024

“How is a song born?” That’s what the singers ask in the Israeli children’s classic, The Sixteenth Lamb. And it’s actually a good question: How is a song written? How is the music composed?

A song becomes popular when it is simple and easy to learn, when it brings different worlds together, music and words, ideas and sounds.

On the Shabbat that falls during Pesaḥ, it is customary to read the Song of Songs, a text that is entirely song and poetry between two lovers. And that is because according to the midrash, the encounter between the Holy One and the people Israel, which reaches its climax with the exodus from Egypt, came to be in the same way as an encounter between lovers.

Some have said that the word shir, meaning “song” or “poem,” comes from sharsheret, meaning “a chain,” in which each link is connected to the next, and together they all form the harmony, the song.

On the Seder night, we read not just the story of the wise child but even that of the wicked one. As the universally known Hebrew song goes, ki ‘od nimshekhet ha-sharsheret, “the chain still goes on.”

The chain will indeed go on, as long as we continue to connect the links.