B'chol Dor VaDor-In Every Generation
I have been working lately to incorporate music into Torah study. It's something that I have wanted to do now for a while and it presents its own unique challenges but also adds a layer of meaning to the importance of the concepts emphasized at Passover.
B'chol Dor VaDor, "In every generation one is obligated to see oneself as one who personally went out from Egypt."
How can we possibly navigate this question? We live in a country where we are free to go where we please, be paid a wage for our work (I realize that this is a loaded statement filled with inconsistencies), we are free to live where we wish. All of these things that we take for granted were not available to the slaves of Egypt and they are not available to the slaves of today. How do we transport ourselves back in time and put ourselves into the shoes of others?
Perhaps it is not so impossible and we can begin by exploring the past thirteen months.
During our lifetimes we have never experienced a year where our freedom to move, to breath, to work, to socialize and to gather have been so drastically affected. During this period of time we have collectively experienced trauma. We have become slaves to the whims of a disease. There were moments of horror, of work that never seemed to end, of danger, of the cruelty that unpredictability brings. As people are slowly vaccinated and we see the hints of freedom down the road, we can perhaps begin to understand
the trauma of the Israelites, both as they were slaves and as they were freed. Perhaps there is no better time to understand this phrase than this year.
So, perhaps, this terrible period of time is unique in that it helps us to see ourselves in a time of slavery. Perhaps we are now experiencing that time in Egypt with the hope of redemption coming soon.
Tomorrow night I will run a class where we explore this notion. I will also use music to evoke the feelings of people in different parts of the world. Through music we can experience things differently.
Listening to these four pieces of music, how do you experience B'Chol Dor VaDor?
Where does each piece bring you? How do your impressions change as you listen to different pieces of music? Can you put those different impressions into words or perhaps a drawing?
Music is so subjective that another piece might be better. Perhaps none of these pieces work or perhaps all of them work differently so that your opinion is shaped a little by all of these.
If you were to add a piece of music to this list, music that would allow you to imagine the juxtaposition of slavery and freedom, what would you add? I hope that you will let me know.
The class is tomorrow night at 7:30. Let me know if you would like to join me.