Last week, My friend Rabbi Alex Shuval-Weiner and I were enjoying a nice vegetarian lunch at Blue Koi, one of my favorite restaurants in OPK, and she said, "You remember you asked about new liturgical settings? Well, here's what I want: I want an adult setting of the Priestly Blessing, something I can use at life cycle events and in services. Could you work on that?"
I assured her that it would go in the hopper that is my musical brain, and when I came up with something I would let her know and we got on with our nice veggie lunch.
I didn't think about it again, not much at all, until one morning just three days later when I had a chunk of free time and found myself at the temple with my guitar in a quiet room and some staff paper. I was supposed to be writing out some musical transcriptions for the music director, but instead found myself turning to the siddur (prayer book) and looking up the Priestly Blessing. A melody entered my head, and I sang it over and over again. Then I realized that I had been humming the same melody, or part of it, on the bike ride over to temple earlier in the day. I went with it, and hummed and strummed and wrote stuff down, and about 90 minutes later I had what I was pretty sure my friend was looking for. I recorded it on my flip-phone (there IS a feature on my phone that will record, though the quality is very rough and probably not originally intended for music), sent it to her and asked, Is this what you had in mind? That evening, she replied that it was.
I was thrilled by her response.
I get a kick out of making my friends happy with my music.
If we really are all made b'tzelem Elohim, in the image of God, then on some level maybe I make God happy with my music, too. (I am reminded of a line from the movie Chariots of Fire, when Scottish middle distance runner [and Christian missionary] Eric Liddle said, "When I run, I feel God's pleasure." -- On my better songwriting days, it's a little like that.)
Today, at home with my actual computer, a microphone borrowed from the temple and my Blue Icicle, I recorded a much cleaner demo.
If you like it and want the sheet music, contact me using the contact link here at my web site.
I now have six songs ready to think about putting on -- believe it or not -- a third album. Crazy. I will write a bunch more before I get serious about raising money to go back into the studio, but it feels good to know the creative juices are still flowing. I feel reassured, and thankful for the gift.