An Introduction to Chanting: A Webinar with Rabbi Shefa Gold
"In acts of genuine expression, what goes on between the soul of man and the word of prayer is more than an act of employment, of using words as if they were tools. Here the soul and the word react upon each other; the word is a creative force.
Words are not made of paper.
"Words of prayer are repositories of the spirit. It is only after we kindle a light in the words that we are able to behold the riches they contain. It is only after we arrive within a word that we become aware of the riches our own souls contain.”
(A.J.Heschel, Man’s Quest for God)
I begin with this quote from Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, because when I read it, I thought it was a beautiful description of the practice of Chanting. When we chant, we “kindle a light in the words” and use that light as a lantern as we journey through the inner landscape. A chant is different than a song. It is a meditative practice that encompasses and integrates the inner and outer dimensions of our Being. When I sing a song, I am communicating meaning and expressing beauty to the listener “out there.” But when I chant, I am also communicating to and awakening places inside me that need to hear and be touched by the chant. A song may entertain, but the chant is meant to transform. When you have learned the melody and rhythm of a chant, you’ve only touched the surface. Then you can begin to explore the inner dimensions of the chant. The practice of Chant is simple and accessible to everyone, yet it provides the opportunities for a lifetime of fascinating exploration and refinement. In using chant as a spiritual practice, we are exploring the pathways of Divine flow; we are learning about ourselves; we are connecting with each other; we are opening to the wisdom of our ancestors; and we are healing and nurturing the world and ourselves.
Rabbi Shefa Gold
This webinar is open to members in good standing of the American Conference of Cantors and Guild of Temple Musicians. Rabbi Gold will be a scholar in residence for the 2018 Dallas Convention however, convention attendance is not a requirement for participation in this webinar. This webinar is open to all members, and we encourage convention attendees to spend some time on this webinar in preparation of the convention! Convention attendance is NOT required to participate in this webinar!