Folk Song – Jewish

Folk Song- Reciting the Torah

There is something very interesting I discovered about the Jewish religion once I learned more about folklore.  In folklore, a group of people may learn a joke, a legend, or even a recipe without being taught.  They don’t go to class for it, but somehow, everyone knows.  The same concept pertains to the reading of the torah or the prayer book in synagogue.  I never learned the tune of each song in the Torah from the Rabbi.  In fact, I never learned it from anyone.  Going to temple for holidays, Hebrew school, and various other occasions made it possible for me to naturally pick up everything in the Torah.  Each congregation has their own melodies to songs, and at mine, everyone knows them without even thinking.  I think this is a perfect example of Folklore.  In fact, I have even passed on these melodies to kids younger than I am.  Whether my version was slightly different or not, I will never know.  But maybe one hundred years down the line, people will be reading out of the Torah with a slightly different tune because of my minor change.

This concept of Torah melody is strange.  I never thought about it until this assignment, but it really is a great example of folklore.  I cannot pinpoint one person or multiple people who taught me each song, but somehow I know them all.  I must have learned them sometime before my Bar Mitzvah, but the exact date cannot be determined.  I do not know what to think of different melodies for each congregation.  I think the Torah is open to interpretation, so therefore, I think the reading of it is too.

The fact that each congregation has a different way of singing songs in the prayer book and Torah gives a sense of identity to the people who belong.  Just knowing Hebrew itself connects people of the temple to Judaism and Israel.  Whether or not God wanted to have one set way of reciting his words, it is apparent that they will always change.