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Music

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Rabbi Jonathan Blass

19 Adar 5764
Question
What is the role of music in Jewish Liturgy, and how is it used in orthodox tradition?
Answer
Music was part of the service in the Temple and the Levites sang as part of their responsibilities. Maimonides (Guide for the Perplexed III 46) writes that that service involved all parts of the human spirit and through music the human spirit attaches itself to sanctity. It is important to maintain the traditional melodies that in each community are associated with particular prayers. The notes of the chazzan reciting the prayers on Yom Kippur, for example, evoke memories that facilitate praying in the appropriate atmosphere.
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