The Healing Muse Cafe

Healing Muse 16 cover art by Kevin Schoonover

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Healing Song: A Contemporary Jewish Prayer

By Guest Contributor Lawrence M. Lesser

The Healing Muse is happy to welcome Guest Contributor and songwriter Lawrence M. Lesser.

In 2004, I attended a themed service focused on healing at the Congregation B’nai Zion, led by Cantor Marc Phillippe. The services inspired me to explore healing as a theme in music, and made me wonder as a songwriter what healing song might be inside of me.

Written from a meditative, contemplative place, my healing song felt channeled, emerging with a distilled essence, deeply faithful to the MiSheberach and the first part of the Viddui, both traditional Jewish prayers for the healing of body and soul. The way towards healing goes beyond words, as reflected in the chorus’ use of Chassidic niggun syllables, vocalizations that have no literal semantic meaning. I wrote openness and sparseness into the song, to give both singer and listener abundant space to make their own connections. I hope these connections reflect the healing process as something personal and communal, with striving and acceptance.

It was powerful to write the song and internalize some of its energy and intention for healing, but I had no specific plans to record it or share it with a larger audience. Three years later, I showed it to a university voice instructor, who included it on an album of songs grounded in Jewish spirituality. Around that time, the song was also adopted for periodic use by Temple Mount Sinai at services such as Yom Kippur and for the part of the service when a prayer is sung for all in need of healing. It was humbling to be in the congregation during these services and to hear the community’s voices and harmonies offering collective energies to those in need.

More background about “Healing Song”, links to related interviews, and links to streaming recordings of the song are available via Temple Mount Sinai.

Lawrence M. Lesser is nationally published as a songwriter, poet, textbook author, and academician.

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