Tov Lehodos (Avraham Fried)

June 2, 2023

We haven’t written a Shabbos piece in a while, but it’s getting late, so let’s make this quick! First, let’s explore the secret link between Shabbos and the sublime holiness of symphonic song, as found in the magnificent writings of HaRav Moshe Wolfson shlit’a.

What is music? Notes? No, not quite. If you just press random keys on a piano, the sound of those notes will not create music, but irritating noise. Music is when each note matches the other in a marvelously satisfying way, when each piece compliments the other, when they make sense together.

Chazal tell us that each day of creation corresponds to one of the seven notes of music. On Sunday, we have our first note; on Monday, we already have two notes, and so on. On Friday we have six notes, but we still can’t sing because there are seven notes of music, and we need all of them in order to be able to sing a proper song. Only with the arrival of Shabbos can we finally sing.

This concept is further symbolized by Kabolas Shabbos. First, we have six kapitlach of Tehillim. The sixth perek already speaks of the notes of music. It repeats the word “Kol” seven times: Kol Hashem al hamayim, Kol Hashem bakoach, Kol Hashem b’hadar, and so on. With the seven kolos presented, we can finally sing in honor of Shabbos: L’cha dodi likras kallah!

With the Shabbos present, each day of the week can take its rightful place in the symphony of praise of Hashem. Shabbos itself invites each day to join her, and they all sing: Mizmor Shir L’Yom HaShabbos!

Now, music is not only in sound and in the days of the week. There is music in history as well. Each event plays a note; it harmonizes with everything else that happens. There is so much satisfaction in the beauty and perfection in how Hashem conducts His creation.

But in order to hear the harmony of history, we have to see it all together, we have to see the entire picture. We have to wait for all the notes to be here, for the final flourishing moment, when all will finally make sense. Today, we cannot hear the song of history. We need to wait for Moshiach.

However, there is one day of the week when we rise above time, when we view the world through the prism of the future. On Shabbos, we can sing about the harmony of the history of the world:

כִּי שִׂמַּחְתַּנִי הַ׳ בְּפָעֳלֶךָ בְּמַעֲשֵׂי יָדֶיךָ אֲרַנֵּן

For You, Hashem, have made me happy through Your miraculous deeds. I sing with joy when I see the great acts that Your hands perform.

מַה גָּדְלוּ מַעֲשֶׂיךָ הַ׳ מְאֹד עָמְקוּ מַחְשְׁבֹתֶיךָ

Hashem, how great are Your actions! How exceedingly profound are Your thoughts!

At the tender age of nine he was hailed a child prodigy. Avraham Fried, the consummate Chassidic menagen, has been singing the melody of his soul since before many of us were born. His first record as a professional was released in 1981 and was named No Jew Will Be Left Behind after what has clearly been his modus operandi. Tov Lehodos was composed by his long-time friend, colleague and collaborator, Yossi Green, and is certainly a song of excited celebration.

When Shabbos arrives, the secret of song is revealed, and all together, we rejoice in the harmony of the Master Conductor.

Wishing all of you symphonious Shabbos Kodesh!

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