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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

Sing a New Song

Updated: Jun 28, 2023

Here we are again, in the warm (and rainy!) days of summer time. These parshiyot, Chukat and Balak, truly are the summer camp parshiyot. I like to imagine those wonderful souls, camp rabbis and scholars, who always find innovative ways to introduce these parshiyot to young campers in new and exciting ways, which brings me to the connection of this week's poem to the parsha.

Time moves quickly in Parshat Chukat, where we find ourselves years later, toward the end of the wanderings. The generations have changed. Both Miriam and Aaron, Moshe's siblings and constant companions, each die and the new population embarks to access the land. It is during these travels that the Israelites arrive at a place where a well has been dug, on the border of Moav and suddenly they break into song. About what? Nothing short of water, for water has indeed been a central theme for the past forty years of the people's wanderings in the wilderness.

Another song by a new generation! The generation who left Egypt sang a song at the sea, led by Miriam and another song led by Moses. These songs left their marks, but now a new generation is rising up and ready to conquer the land. This new generation, fresh and young and making their way toward nationhood deserve their own song.

And so it is. Old songs remain precious to us and have their places in both our personal and national lives, but new generations rise up and they deserve to sing their own new songs. It is for the older generation to teach and savor their songs, but be ready to listen to the new songs of a new generation.


Do you know how sometimes you get a song stuck in your head? Stuck in my head these past few days as I wrote and re-wrote this piece, is a song written by Miten and Premal called, "Sing Your Own Song." This song definitely inspired these thoughts. I hope that you will listen to it through the link below, as it is very beautiful.


I hope to write one more poem this week, so stay tuned.

As always, I am grateful for your readership.



Sing a new song.

Tuck the old tune in the drawer

for it has been well worn;

softened over time

like a pair of faded blue jeans.

The old song has been sung and hummed,

whispered and whistled,

quoted and repeated

again and again.

The same three chords,

the same harmony and refrain.

Predictable and warm;

the song has brought comfort and strength,

but it is a new time

and there is a new song

waiting to be born

Sing a new song.

Compose something new.

A futuristic fugue,

a hopeful rap,

a proud anthem

for there is a new story to tell

and new people to sing along.

Sing it

on the granite hills,

from the tops of tall buildings,

and in concerts lit by 10,000 tiny lights,

where it will sound with echoes of the past,

but a with a beat that approaches the future.

Sing a new song

for nothing remains the same.

Time sings forward.

Slide over over the frets of

an acoustic guitar;


past the notes on the page,

past the sharps and the flats,

the plays and the pauses

up to where ideas are formed

and songs are composed.

Sing a new song!

Fear not as brilliant rays of light are captured

in a growing chorus of voices.

Sing to the sound of new beginnings.

where the souls of a nation are stirred,

as only a song can do,

so hold onto that final note,

long and clear.

Savor it.

Sing your new song



אָ֚ז יָשִׁ֣יר יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֶת־הַשִּׁירָ֖ה הַזֹּ֑את

עֲלִ֥י בְאֵ֖ר עֱנוּ־לָֽהּ׃ Then Israel sang this song: Spring up, O well—sing to it— בְּאֵ֞ר חֲפָר֣וּהָ שָׂרִ֗ים כָּר֙וּהָ֙ נְדִיבֵ֣י הָעָ֔ם בִּמְחֹקֵ֖ק בְּמִשְׁעֲנֹתָ֑ם וּמִמִּדְבָּ֖ר מַתָּנָֽה׃ The well which the chieftains dug, Which the nobles of the people started With maces, with their own staffs. And from Midbar to Mattanah, וּמִמַּתָּנָ֖ה נַחֲלִיאֵ֑ל וּמִנַּחֲלִיאֵ֖ל בָּמֽוֹת׃ and from Mattanah to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to Bamoth, וּמִבָּמ֗וֹת הַגַּיְא֙ אֲשֶׁר֙ בִּשְׂדֵ֣ה מוֹאָ֔ב רֹ֖אשׁ הַפִּסְגָּ֑ה וְנִשְׁקָ֖פָה עַל־פְּנֵ֥י הַיְשִׁימֹֽן׃ {פ} and from Bamoth to the valley that is in the country of Moab, at the peak of Pisgah, overlooking the wasteland.

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