Darshan: “Voice Lessons” – The Hevria Sessions

The title of this song is, “Voice Lessons,” riffing off of and playing with the Zoharic text lifted lovingly for the chorus (1:161b):

קַל קַלָא דְקַלְיָא
אִתְעָר מֵעֵילָא לְתַתָא

(A voice, voice of voices
Awakened from above and below)

קַל נְעִימוּתָא אִתְעָר
אִתְעָרוּ נַיימִין
אוֹרַייתָא רַמאָת קַליִן

(A pleasant voice has awakened
Wake up sleepy heads
The Torah sends out voices)

This compact and crystalline unit of Zohar alerts us to a few facts of life:

1) We are, more often than not, asleep (even while we are awake).

2) The Torah is a kind of alarm clock that sends out wake up calls in various voices.

3) It is up to us to receive, recognize and respond to those very voices quietly calling us beyond the surface of our shallowness.

According to this, the Torah has a voice, or is a voice, that speaks to us in its own words (i.e., through its text), as well as through other mediums such as nature, history, dreams, angels, messengers, signs or songs.

‘The’, or ‘A’, function of the Torah is thus to wake us up to the Divine presence all around and deep within us—silently speaking or singing to us, if only we would take the time to listen.

This understanding sheds light on the significance of the “Shema”. It is only after we have taken the time to “Hear” or “Listen” to this voiceless voice that we are able to experience and exclaim the truth of God’s and Reality’s underlying unity.

The title of the song, “Voice Lessons”, can thus be understood as learning to hear, or even see, the Voice of the Torah speaking to us through every facet of our lives.

“Voice Lessons”

קַל קַלָא דְקַלְיָא
אִתְעָר מֵעֵילָא לְתַתָא

Qal qala d’qalya
Itar lay’ayla le’tata

(A voice, voice of voices
Awakened from above and below)

קַל נְעִימוּתָא אִתְעָר
אִתְעָרוּ נַיימִין
אוֹרַייתָא רַמאָת קַליִן

Qal ne’imuta itar
Itaru na’meen
Oraita ramat qaleen

(A pleasant voice has awakened
Wake up sleepy heads
The Torah sends out voices)


From deep within I heard a whispering wind
Silent scream serenade settling in
Every river started as a single drop of water
So we swim against the current to return to the harbor

The empty vessel contains infinite potential
Like a hollowed-out ram’s horn right before a breathful
Of desire intention to inspire expression
The world is a mirror — can you see your reflection?

A voice, your voice, our voices
Above, below, outside, within
The sound surrounds astounding
Where silence starts the song begins
Fluttering by a Divine butterfly
Escape from sleep to awaken the dream

The life that I’m leading is leaving me in the dust
How can I keep on believing in teachings speaking of love
When all I see is innocent suffering
Waiting for the voice within the whirlwind wondering

Why, what, when, who, where, how
‘Til I realized the goal is not to figure it out
But to animate faith in the face of doubt
And respond to the call of the spirit — can you hear it?

 

Lyrics written by Eden Pearlstein (ePRHYME)
Niggun received by Shir Yaakov
Aramaic from Zohar(1:161b)

Featuring:

Basya Schechter
Jamie Saft on Keys
Ben Perowsky on Drums
Jonathan Maron on Bass