MUSICAL NOTE By Cantor Sherwood Goffin
Sim Shalom/Tov L'Hodos
Each Shabbat at the LSS Main Minyan I sing various congregational singing melodies which I insert into the regular musical "nusach" of the day. Since I have written about this very often in this column, you may be aware by now that I carefully choose my nigunim according to the laws of Nusach Hatefillah as set down by our Sages and successively confirmed by the rabbis and the expert baalei tefilla over the past 700 years. They have determined the musical modes of each tefilla, and I therefore respect those guidelines when planning my musical program for each Shabbat.
You should also be aware that I have a cycle of nigunim so that an element of "freshness" can be instilled into each Shabbat's musical selections. One exception is that of Sim Shalom for Musaf, which has become one of our "signature" melodies sung each Shabbat with the approbation of the congregation. The original melody is "Tov L'hodos” composed by Itzy Katz for the third "Rabbis Sons" album in the 1970's. It fits the Mode of the tefilla as well as the "Mood" of the tefilla, and the original words echo the Meaning of the words of this tefilla. It is sung with feeling and gusto by our congregation and ends the Musaf Amidah on a "high" note. In any case, you now know my own "3 Ms"criteria for nigunim: Mode, Mood and Meaning, and there is even fourth: "Min Hamikdosh", that it not be from secular sources, except in rare, exceptional circumstances as indicated in this column during the calendar year.
Daven well and sing along!
(c) 2007 Sherwood Goffin and Lincoln Square Synagogue