AN OPEN LETTER
TO THE JEWISH COMMUNITY
Project Shabbat Birkat Hamazon B’Shira
Saying Thank you to Hashem (GOD)
In today’s Covid 19 world of isolation/uncertainty and Zoom meeting educational platforms, it has become increasingly difficult to enrich and maintain our individual, our familial and our communal spirituality. In all probability, very few of us or our children have engaged in Shabbat communal singing in many months. In all probability, very few of us have engaged in joyful communal singing at all.
What if all the larger Jewish families or individuals, who are alone in the world, slowed down on Shabbat and take approximately 9 minutes to sing, out loud, the Shabbat Birkat Hamazon B’Shira. (Sabbath Grace After Meals In Song)
The Dezimra Institute is attempting to inspire a worldwide initiative seeking to encourage, every Jew, every Shabbat, both families together and/or individuals singularly, to fulfill a Torah proclamation of saying Brachot by singing out loud the entire Shabbat Birkat Hamazon B’Shira.
This initiative will not cost any money to implement; however, its spiritual and family bonding reward benefits are memorable, priceless and immeasurable.
The Birkat Hamazon is a prayer originating 3,300 years ago, when the Torah mandated “You shall eat and be satisfied and bless the Lord…” (Deuteronomy). The melody is arguably the most often sung prayer in Jewish history. THE BIRKAT HAMAZON IS THE ONE AND ONLY BRACHA EXPLICITLY MANDATED IN THE TORAH THAT MUST BE SAID BY ALL JEWS.
The following is a beautiful refresher educational singing tutorial of the Shabbat Birkat Hamazon B’Shira led by world renowned Cantor Benny Amar.
It has already been reported that certain individuals have experienced renewed chizzuk (spiritual strength) and kavanah (sincere feeling of the heart), during the week, in preparation for Shabbat, when they read the English translation from a Siddur, as they followed the Hebrew words of the Tefillah, enhanced by the powerful melodious nigguneem (spiritually enhanced melodies).
In this current pandemic world of isolation, the spiritual power of out–loud singing Teffilot (prayers) is beyond quantification. Both as individuals and/or as families with our children, we are enmeshed in a “singing drought.” We have not engaged in communal singing for months.
As the Torah highlights in the Yam Suf Experience (Israel’s miraculous exodus at the Red Sea), Tefillah B’Shira (Prayer in Song) manifests existential spirituality of Yeerah (awe and respect), Emunah (faith and belief) and Kavanah and connection to Hashem.
We are seeking the partnership of all Jewish households, both multi–unit families or individuals living alone, across the world to encourage their out–loud singing of the Shabbat Birkat Hamazon B’Shira, every Shabbat.
The call to action of this Open Letter is a request of each individual who reads this Open Letter, to sing the Shabbat Birkat Hamazon out loud and also circulate this idea to their friends. If every recipient of this Open Letter would forward this Open Letter to their social media list, and each of those recipients would, in turn, forward this Open Letter to their social media list, it has been suggested that the entire Jewish community is only 6 degrees of separation from each other.
George D. Hanus
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