May 1, 2009

Hallel During Chol Hamoed

April 12 - Chol Hamoed
With the combination of the special Birkat Hachama festival, the spring weather and the incredible choices of tiyulim in the north, there was too much choice of things to do during chol hamoed! We wanted to do everything, yet we only had a few days to fit it all in.

Each morning of chol hamoed, the Beirav shul was doing a special hallel service outdoors in the courtyard of the Sarraya. Chairs were arranged outside in the old courtyard, a place that once the headquarters of the Turks and Brits. Now it was peaceful with flourishing palms, the fronds simmering in the sunshine. A few lofty pine trees towered overhead, the needles shusshing in the cool spring wind.

We all stood silently through the shemonah esrei, heads bowed. Then a violin bow was smoothed, guitars were tuned and a trumpet gleamed in the sun. Hallel became a symphony. We had the honor of hearing a professional violinist, a trumpeter complete with streimel and capote who sounded like a frum mariachi. A few guitarists were hooked up to a sound system, adding richness to the Carlebach tunes. We could not sit still with such glorious song abounding.

We all started to sway, clap and eventually we broke loose into dance. Every moment was so special, so joyous, so rich and so Tzfat. I did not want it to end. It was a brilliant, inspiring start to the day. I only wish everyone could have experienced this beautiful, soulful connection of music and prayer. And, of course, I forgot to bring my camera!

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