Sunday, April 26, 2009

Trup goes All the Way Back


by Cantor Sherwood Goffin
Proof Text of the Torah Given with Musical Taamim

How do we know that when Moses taught the Torah to the Jewish People it was taught with the Taamim - musical tropes? Proof Text #1: In Parshat Yitro (19:19) it says: “...Moses would speak and G-d would respond to him with a voice.” Most commentaries agree that this refers to the Oral Law (Torah she-b’al peh).

Rabbi Yehuda HeChasid (Germany, c. 1150-1217), the spiritual giant of his era, writes that “voice” is the Taamei HaMikra, the musical “trop.” We know that the people could not stand the power of G-d’s voice, and after only two of the commandments pleaded with Moses that he present the commandments in G-d’s place. How could they listen to G-d reciting an entire parallel Oral Law as Moses taught the Torah? The answer given by the Sefer HaChassidim is that this was the heavenly melody of the Torah Trop that punctuates the text of the Chumash and therefore serves as a “code matrix” from which emanated the Torah she-b’al peh! At a future time, I will give the second proof text.


© 2009 Sherwood Goffin and Lincoln Square Synagogue

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