A Medley of Musings…
What. A. Year.
We have davened in parking lots, gotten married in backyards, attended classes in our living rooms – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! 5780 was filled with an abundance of abnormalities that were introduced into our societies, and that inevitably spilled into our daily lives. But while the year could easily be defined by the chaos and unknown, the one constant has been Shabbos. Shabbos has served as a weekly reminder that even though we don’t know what awaits us in the coming week, we do know that Hashem is here with us and is orchestrating the entire thing. That knowledge alone has given us the comfort and hope that we have desperately needed in order to regain our focus and to forge on another 7 days…..
…If nothing else, this year has taught us a few things. Maybe we no longer take for granted the gifts that have been bestowed upon us; our health, our livelihoods, our families and friends. Our shuls and our schools. Our mobility, safety, and independence. The unpredictability of each passing day made any effort to plan anything in advance a futile endeavor. Maybe, just maybe, we have gotten more used to not worrying about what the future holds, and instead have been able to live in the moment more than ever before.
The names of the Parshios that we will read this Shabbos provide a subtle hint to this as well: “Netzavim” – we stop, we stand still, if but for a moment, and take in the moments leading up to the one we are living. Then, by standing firmly in the present – hayom – we can accept and appreciate ourselves as we are today, kulchem, every part of us – the faults, failures, imperfections – all of it, in order to reaffirm our commitment to improve and to grow. Only after doing so are we now ready to enter the new year – “Vayelech” – to go forward with renewed trust and confidence in ourselves, armed with the fortitude to face whatever may come our way…..
…But while we may be more present, the end of the year does lend itself to a bit of reminiscing, does it not? I myself tend to wax nostalgic as I look back on the last 12 months of my life and beyond. I’m sure I’m not the only one whose mind starts to wander as a highlight reel of memorable moments pass before my eyes. A soothing soundtrack – a medley of sorts – that accurately represents each day and age accordingly often accompanies this subconscious sequence… Which got me thinking.
Shabbos, the one consistent and reliable day of our lives, deserves more than just one song. And with so many tunes to choose from this week, the last Shabbos of the year, how about we play a medley – a composition made up of a series of songs that can convey the inspiration that this time of year has harnessed? Songs that represent a time that was free of the pandemic pandemonium that surrounds us today. Songs from a more innocent period in history, a pre-9/11 era that was dashed before some of you were born…..
The Kumzitz Medley below is from Volume 2 of Yaakov Shwekey’s nostalgia series called Those Were the Days and contains some of the most universal classics that are sung in the kumzitz circuit today. Joined by the talented composer/producer/singer Yitzy Waldner and the brilliant Zemiros Choir, Shwekey takes us back to a time long forgotten, with a fresh, modern arrangement. Both volumes offer us a glimpse of a simpler time while infusing us with the hope of a brighter tomorrow, and this medley is no different. Together we pray that Hashem help us return to our respective paths and that the coming year should be blissful and harmonious, just as they have been in times gone by – Hasheveinu Hashem eilecha v’nashuva, chadeish yameinu k’kedem.
Wishing you an unforgettable Shabbos!