Friday, June 17, 2005

A Little Nusach Music: What I learned at the Tikkun Lel Shavuot

After straining what was left of my voice to croak my way through, and leading a discussion on, my own “d’var Torah,” (see, and between coughs, I managed to listen to what our friend the cantor—too bad she isn’t our shul’s (synagogue’s) cantor—had to say about “holiday theme songs.” Apparently, each of the three Shalosh R’galim (Pilgrimage Festivals) has a “theme song” whose tune can be substituted for the standard nusach (traditional liturgical tune) for certain parts of the service. I forget what she said was the theme song for Sukkot (the Feast of Booths), but the theme song for Pesach (Passover) is Adir Hu, which can be used for such passages as Mi Chamocha and the Hallel’s Hodu LaShem Ki Tov. Apparently, there’s a fancier tune to the piyut (liturgical poem) Akdamut, sung at the beginning of the first aliyah on Shavuot (the Feast of Weeks) than the one that I know, and that’s the theme song for Shavuot. But the really neat thing that I learned is that the plainer tune to Akdamut, which is the one that I know, is also the basis of the nusach for kiddush—the nusach that I’ve been using since I was a teenager—for the evening of the Shalosh Regalim!

I also learned from her that the Hebrew word “piyut” and the English word “poetry” are both derived from the same Greek word.


Blogger Shira Salamone said...

You're probably right about Sukkot. And yes, Shavuot is tricky.

I'm tickled to see you here. Just out of curiosity, are you the Naomi who just got married to a guy "named" D.? If you are, mazal tov! My husband and I are another couple who met and dated "b'tzibur" (within the synagogue community). That's a trip, ain't it? :) On the other hand, it sure beats bar-hopping!

Tue Jun 21, 07:26:00 PM 2005  

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