Sunday, July 17, 2005

What makes chills go down your back??

7/17/05 1:44 pm. I learned a while ago that to find your path, you must pay attention to where you are inspired with a longing and where you get chills when you see or experience someone else doing what it is that inspires you. For me, for some reason I get inspired when I hear someone singing. Deep inside me with every fiber of my being, I know I should be singing too. G-d even gave me the musical talent, the voice, and the range to be a male tenor singer. Further, he has furnished me with a set of childhood experiences that has taught me to use my voice and to perform.

Secretly, I have always felt like I was wasting what was given to me. Yet the years has rusted and matured my childhood angelic voice, and it has masked the sound I still know with every fiber of my being that I have dormant. Why would I be given this gift only to waste it by pretending it is not there?

I have resolved to contact my old mentors (if they are still alive) and to look up the actors and singers I have performed with who would recognize me on sight. Further, I have resolved to look into finding a way to test whether this is an empty dream or a calling. Names that immediately come to my mind are Elena Doria, Barbara Elliott with the Il Piccolo Teatro; Joshua Wolf, Jonathan Gotch, and Adam Plotch. (Maybe by listing their names, by chance, they will look themselves up on and find this site and get in contact with me.) It seems as if we were always up for the same roles. I wonder what ever happened to them. Where are they in life? What have they done with their voice? I also can think of Dov Farkas, the son of Cantor Farkas, (now married & frum), Paul Zim (I was in his "Come to my seder" album), and Motti Lazar, who I was singing for when I was first "discovered" by the Metropolitan Opera in New York City’s Lincoln Center.

Now realistically, there is a halachic restriction which I have recently become aware of which could be the monkey wrench to all my plans; Kol Isha, the prohibition against hearing women sing. This could be a halachic problem [Jewish law]. I might not overcome this objection and I have never known to abstain from this practice and the more I think about it this might have come into conflict with an area I do not have an intention to observe or follow. As I've written previously, I would openly sin if I were to ignore this prohibition. G-d forgive me because I plan to sin. I am not strong enough to overcome this and to commit to exclude these kinds of activities from my life; I won't.

I don't have faith in the halacha (law) that a Jew should separate himself to such an extreme from secular society. This is too far out for me right now in my growth as a Jew and taking this on would be too much for me to handle. I have done a lot of growth in my religious observance and I have come a long way; asking me to commit to refraining from this category of activities would be too much for me to take on.

There is a distinction here that I should recognize in my path to full observance. There is a difference from abstaining from a prohibited activity this specific time versus committing to never do this forbidden activity ever again.

The areas I am still on a case-by-case basis involve (and I must comment that on MANY OF THESE, I am at a 100% abstention rate for the last four years, meaning that I have almost never participated in these activities, but I am not strong enough to commit to never do the forbidden activity in the forbidden form again, and on SOME OF THESE activities, I have never abstained from at all, such as): Movies, TV, video games, kol isha, ballroom dancing, clubbing, tsnius (modesty), ga’ava (arrogance), mixed swimming, shomer negiah (no touch between the sexes), kavod av v’aim (respecting and obeying parents), davening consistently every morning with Tefillin, kosher medicines & questionable vitamins, always davening (praying) with a minyan (quorum), always being in a place on Shabbos w/ a sefer Torah, ignoring my desires, and neglecting daily fixed Torah study. These are the transgressions for which I will answer to my Creator on my day of reckoning. My friends and law school acquaintances would laugh at the fact that I am able to count my sins on my fingers.


Rowan said...

i think if you have the ability that you say you do, it is wasted to not use it in some way or another. though, i am one to talk, but i do miss performing myself (though I don't like to admit it) obviously not at the level of fame that you had, but I enjoyed being part of competitions and I truly TRULY miss my ballroom dancing - but the choice of a mortgage or dance was a given I think. One day, I will go back to dance and will compete for the joy of it. I wish I could still do it while I was young enough to adapt and learn and be more flexible, but I do know some people in their 70's who are better than I will ever be.

Rowan said...

oh, and regarding chills? music makes me get chills, especially classical pieces such as pachalbel's cannon, Chariots of Fire, Elizabethan Serenade, L'Hobanera, Moonlight Sonata, etc. I even cry and vibrate from the intense emotions they bring into me. Sometimes, i forget to breathe.