Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises. — Psalm 47:6
In Psalm 47, the psalmist encourages us to “Sing praises to God, sing praises.” The Jewish sages comment that this verse is not simply telling us that we should open up our prayer books and sing songs of praise and worship. Rather, this verse compels us to create new songs of worship and praise. We are to write new, original songs, songs previously unheard in the world.
Now, in Ecclesiastes 1:9 we learn that “there is nothing new under the sun,” and the truth is that even many new songs bear a strong resemblance to songs of the past. Can we really write a new song? Can we really contribute something original and unique to the Kingdom of God?
There is one exception to the assertion in Ecclesiastes that nothing is totally new in the world — and that exception is YOU. Each and every one of us is a unique creation, brought into the world at a specific time for a specific purpose. The sages teach that just as no two faces are exactly alike, no two souls are exactly the same. We each have a unique purpose and mission in life that only we can fulfill. The sages explain that every one of God’s creations – from trees and flowers to animals and people – sing a unique song that only our Creator can hear. That song is our lives.
What’s the difference between noise and music? Noise is sound that is unpleasant. But music is a multitude of sounds coming together to create something beautiful and purposeful. Our job is to turn our lives from noise into unique, beautiful melodies. We need to take everything in our lives – the high notes, the low notes, the keys that only we can reach, and our unique voices – and use them to create a purposeful and beautiful life. This is how we create new music and sing new songs to God.
God doesn’t need another one of the same old songs. He doesn’t want us to be exactly like the next guy. God has already heard that song – He wants us to write a new song. God also doesn’t want us to go through our lives singing the same old song. Just because we sang one tune as children doesn’t mean that we should hum the same tune as adults. As we grow and change, we improve our melody. It becomes more complex and sophisticated as we master new notes. Our song must always be new and renewed.
Today, let’s make new music for God, singing our own unique song.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President