I really enjoy music. I like to sing. I like to listen to acoustic, classical, rock, pop music, etc.
Music really helped me get through so many challenging, and often miserable, stages in my life...like when I was a new baalat teshuva, sitting in my room all alone with nobody who understands me and many who were judging me.
Or when I was dating. Or experiencing a heartbreak...a letdown...family issues...
music was always my comfort. It would help me calm down and help my soul elevate and heal.
I would listen to secular music but make sure that the lyrics were "kosher." And to be honest, that music helped me so many times to get through whatever it was that I was dealing with.
But after getting married, I stopped connecting with that music. I suddenly felt like it was coming from a wrong place. The romantic love songs were often so dirty or just...not about true love and felt foreign to me. I no longer sympathized with the break up songs. The rock songs suddenly became depressing and meaningless.
Now, every time I turn to music it's an Avraham Fried, Meydad Tasa, Itzik Eshel, Shwekey, etc. song and that is also the music that my children listen to. Hearing a song like "Ma Ashiv" by Mordechai ben David or "Ki Hirbeisa" by Avraham Fried or "K'ayal Taarog" by Shwekey can change around my whole day.
I have no idea how to explain it, but my mood and outlook towards music is so much more positive now. Every song I hear has positive vibes. Has productive lyrics. Has soul touching ability and elevates my emotions instead of bringing them down. Every song has a purpose, depth, and elements of holiness to it.
This is the kind of music I want resonating in my mind. In my home. In my relationships.
I recently heard a moving story:
Rabbi Wallerstein told the girls in his kiruv high school - let's do an experiment. People may think that secular dvds, music, movies, etc. doesn't negatively affect them because "I'm different."
So, he put on a popular rap song and asked everyone to close their eyes.
Then told them to write what they envision while listening to the music.
After 4 minutes of listening to this song, the papers read: hate, darkness, depression, anger, rage
Then he put on "Mama Rochel" and asked everyone to close their eyes again and listen to the music.
Then told them to write what they envision while listening to this song.
Their papers read: warmth, potential, love, HaShem, protection....
Rabbi Wallerstein's point of conducting this exercise was to show them that the music goes somewhere. It doesn't just go in one ear and out the other. It touches your soul, your mind, your thoughts, and impacts your mood.
Granted, not every secular song is a rap song or vulgar, but this story really made an impression on me.
It made me wonder - what kind of music do I want touching my soul?
So yeah. It's been 3 years since I've been exclusively listening to Jewish music, and I feel such a difference.
Thank G-d, being that I have a fulltime job as a wife & mother (and some other job for money ;)), I don't have as much time alone time as I previously did and can't listen to shiurim daily, go to Shul on Shabbatot, read as many books, etc. as I used to. I would assume that my relationship with HaShem and emuna would suffer because of that. And yet...I feel so much closer to HaShem and spiritually aware than before.
I really think it is somewhat due to surrounding myself in a home and environment that yearns for kedusha and eliminating the music I would listen to.
I'm not really sure what the purpose of this post was. Just thoughts/reminiscing/ideas and some introspection.
I hope to be able to listen to a aseret yemei teshuva related shiur this week & record it on this blog.
Wishing everyone a Shana Tova & Gmar Chatima Tova!