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Singing Service

Written by Rabbi Yehoshua Alt, 30/5/2020

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Fascinating Insights—The Sefer (in English)

Singing Service

We know the Avoda of the Leviyim were to sing as we say ...ולוים לשירם ולזמרם[1], restore the Leviyim to their song and music. This is hinted to in קח את הלוים מתוך בני ישראל, take the Leviyim from among בני ישראל.[2] Taking the middle letters from the word ישראל, let us see what we get. Spelling out the word ישראל, we have יוד, שין, ריש, אלף, למד. The middle letter spelled out is ריש, which when rearranged spells שיר, song. The middle letters of each of them when they are spelled out (יוד, שין, ריש, אלף, למד) spells לויים.[3] This was the job of the Leviyim.


The Meor V’Shemesh[4] brings from the Sefer Bris Menucha[5] that when Korbanos were brought to the Beis Hamikdash, the Kohen would look at the one bringing the Korban and understand his thoughts. If the Kohen understood that the person didn’t do proper Teshuva yet, then he would hint to the Leviyim for them to sing that which would awaken this person to have thoughts of Teshuva. The Leviyim would then do this and this would bring the person to thoughts of Teshuva…Through this the person was forgiven.


Along the same lines, here is what the Shaar Yissaschar[6] brings: There is a tradition that when the one who sinned brought a Korban before the Kohen, the Kohen asked what sin he committed. When the person sadly said what he stumbled in, the Kohen screamed אוי ואבוי, woe, how could you do a sin like this before Hashem?! He would say other similar words of Mussar and fear. The Kohen hinted to the Leviyim standing on their platform and they began to sing with their instruments a stirring song that brings tears. Then the person would lean his hands on the Korban and confess, ‘I committed a certain sin and I returned with Teshuva and this is my atonement.’ Through this tremendous awakening he cried bitterly with confession and regret. When the Kohen saw that the person nearly died from his bitterness, he hinted to the Leviyim and they began to sing a song of happiness to restore the man’s spirit. The Korban was then slaughtered immediately and therefore he had an atonement.
Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

[1] Mussaf of Shalosh Regalim.

[2] Bamidbar 8:6.


















[4] Korach, s.v. ועבד.

[5] This was authored by R’ Avraham the son of R’ Yitzchak of Rimon. In the Sefer Eitz Chaim (Hakdama, s.v. ובענין ספר הקבלה) R’ Chaim Vital in the name of the Arizal testifies that the Sefer Bris Menucha is true and was authored by a great sage in Torah, wisdom… It was done through the Neshama of a Tzadik that was a Kadmon that Eliyahu revealed himself to and he learned with him.

[6] מאמרי חודש תשרי, מאמר שובה ישראל, אות כ.

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