It always happens to me during mussaf of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. On a good morning it will hit me during Hallel. On a recent Shabbos, I thought about it while an excellent baal tefillah was davening the kedusha of mussaf.
What plagues my mind at these odd times? Basically that I am thankful to NCSY (the youth movement of the Orthodox Union). Ok, I said it.
Why, you might ask? Well, not for the obvious â€œopening my eyes to the beauty of Torah observanceâ€ reason (thatâ€™s for another time). I have hakoras hatov to NCSY because had I not spent 8th-12th grade as a participant of their programs (and a number of years as an advisor), I probably wouldnâ€™t know 75% of the songs/niggunim I hear in shul during the year and at simchos. I would feel like the odd man out.
I think itâ€™s important for both men and women to know niggunim and zemiros. It helps with inclusion and isnâ€™t something that is stressed enough in the more popular adult outreach organizations. For me, music has always been something Iâ€™ve been into. While the current state of popular Jewish music doesnâ€™t always leave me satisfied, I know that music is an important component part of Jewish life. Over the years Iâ€™ve been able to find musicians that I like and music that directly goes into my neshama.
If you have kids, eventually they will start singing songs they hear in school, camp, or in carpool. Thatâ€™s just how it is. Personally, I find being able to sing with my children to be an incredible bonding experience. A great resource that I first saw on BeyondBT is a website called called ShirHalev, http://shirhalev.com/ , where they have posted downloads of dozens of commonly sung songs. I think you can even submit your own.
As I alluded to at the beginning of this post, on Shabbos the baal tefillah used an old tune from Dâ€™veykus IV (1990). It was an interesting moment, because I quickly realized exactly which people davening with me had been around the observant block long enough to know the tune. I did, and I was thankful.