The Baal Shem Tov, or Besht —  the founder of Chasidism — 
met the soul of the Messiah during an ascent to heaven. 
The Besht asked him, "When will the Master come?" 
The Messiah answered, "When your wellsprings break forth to the outside!" 
(from a letter written by the Besht to his brother-in-law about one of his soul ascents) 

New Songs 

During COVID I've started composing some melodies for Jewish liturgy, shabbat, hallel, etc. For July 24th's Friday evening service, I plan to use the L'kha Dodi tune here as well as the Havu Ladonai tune (Psalm 29) when I lead Kabbalat Shabbat, so please listen and get familiar with them, and then join the service with this zoom link, starting 6:30 PM EST! (If we do kiddush on the call, I may also use the Shalom Aleikhem.)

Below are the songs I feel ready to share – please send me your feedback! Tell me, would you want to use these songs? Which settings do you like best? Do you have ideas about how to tweak them, or about where else you might employ the melodies?

L'kha Dodi (Kabbalat Shabbat)

Learn this one for Friday night July 24th! It follows a fairly standard pattern for L'kha Dodi of ABAC.

Havu Ladonai (Psalm 29 – Kabbalat Shabbat)

Also learn this one for Friday night July 24th. This melody is pretty straightforward Jewish-sounding, but its rhythms specifically fit the pattern of the Psalm. The Psalm begins with the words Mizmor L'David, which are *not* part of the tune. Note: I am not sure, but I have a feeling some of this melody may be cribbed from someone else's tune – if you recognize a source please let me know!

Min Hameitsar (from Hallel)

The tune is mostly the same as L'kha Dodi, though in ABCA form rather than ABAC. The words come from Psalm 118:5-7.

Odekha (also from Hallel)

This tune uses just the A and C parts of L'kha Dodi (and changes one note in the middle of the C part), which gives it more elevation. The verses are Psalm 118:21-24. In this part of Hallel, each verse is recited twice.

Shalom Aleikhem (Friday night kiddush)

People who know me might be surprised at such an upbeat carnival-esque tune, but it's what I found to fit the words. The tune follows the tradition of singing each verse three times. The tune is based on a new tune for Tsur Mishelo I wrote (next song), but does not include the slightly angsty fourth melodic line.

Tsur Mishelo (shabbat table song)

This song recapitulates all of Birkat Hamazon in its four verses. The pattern is A-A' (chorus repeated) and then B-C for the verses.

To come: tunes to try out for Mah Yedidut and V'shamru. (Check back this week or next!)

Instrumental nigun

Someday the first part of this might turn into a singing nigun -- but the range of the whole piece as composed here is too wide for most singers.




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