These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

Closing Words, Pardes as a Niggun

Posted on May 30, 2013 by Laura Marder

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523047_3320892264663_1912122470_nToday was the last day of Pardes 2013. Though I am staying another year with PEP I still feel this year coming to a close. I have been so inspired by the people here this year .

Tomorrow night is the Yahrzeit of my Uncle Steve. I have dedicated this year of my learning to him. When I add a special touch of decoration to my Shabbat table or take my notes in a rainbow of colors I think of him. He always added that extra touch of special to everything around him. He was truly an amazing person, artist and inspirational Uncle. Many of my decorative notebooks that I have used this year were his. Pages that he never had the chance to fill. I can’t believe it has been a year now. I am so grateful to this community for getting me through such a difficult year.

Below is what I said at the closing lunch:

“Rabbi Ruth Gan Kagan said, “the moments of silence after the niggun are when you really hear it the loudest.” This is when you get to really bask in the satisfaction and accomplishment of the beauty of the niggun

To me, Pardes has been a like a niggun.

A niggun is repetitive and grows and shrinks in volume and power.
So to at Pardes. We come every day all day and moving threw our schedule almost like a “choreographed dance”

when we are in the niggun we are belting out the words or ya di da’s with everything we have. Just like we pour over our Torah we go at it with everything

In the niggun our bodies are feeling surges of energy and fullness.
Just like at Pardes when we feel fulfilled from a magical teaching or big accomplishment.

In a niggun we can feel the love and dedication of the person who created and taught it. Just like at Pardes with each lesson that we learn we feel the passion and care of the teachers we learn it from.

What has your niggun sounded like this year at pardes?

We are all stepping out of our chant now. Whether just for the summer or leaving pardes to go on to jobs or more schooling. We are entering into the silence after the chant.

As we all take in the silence of not being here. I bless each and everyone of us that we hear our niggun louder than a ticsh of a million sweaty hassidic men!

I hope the knowledge and life changing moments of your time here plays for you during this calming full feeling silence. When you are in your communities and someone asks you a question just know that you are always filled with this niggun. This is yours. Levi taught us in Hassidut last night that we all have to find our niggun. That our Shoresh Neshama is rooted with our niggun. May we all hold on to this and feel the confidence to teach and share our niggun with others.

**Look around you, all of these people are beautiful music notes in your Niggun. If you ever feel like you are forgetting the tune, you have each and every one of us to remind you.

I remember like it was yesterday when I started writing my Niggun, the moment I arrived at 89 derech beit lechem and read my welcome letter from the Hannah. A random roommate from janglo who turned out to be my best friend and mentor. I felt like I had found a community that would change my life forever. A place that would give me the knowledge and spirit to grow into the person and teacher that I only ever dreamed of being. My Niggun has been happy and sad, slow and fast, I am so blessed to still have a year to write more.

Cohort 12. You will all be amazing and inspire countless students. I know I don’t speak alone when I say that I have felt mentored by you. And would be happy to send my future children to your classes. Good luck in this next step and remember through all the stress of first year teaching that you are changing the world so it should be hard.”