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Title: God Symphony # 2

Major Focus: Divine/human partnership

Minor Focus: Mount Sinai

Abstract: A fantasy looking at the possibility of God entering the world again with another message, this time a symphony for all the world's musicians. Do our lives represent the music we play for God, the Torah our special music?

Format: Story

"The God Symphony"
by L. S. Hurwitz

"Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke, for God had come down upon it in fire, the smoke rose like the smoke of an oven, and the whole mountain trembled violently. The blast of the horn grew louder and louder. As Moses spoke, God answered him in a Voice of thunder."

Exodus 19:18-19

This is a story about prophets and sages. Now, nobody in our days has seen any prophets or sages. One day, however, prophets and sages began appearing mysteriously all over the world. The prophets and sages went to every single musician in the world and said, "God is writing a symphony. There is a part in it for you. There will be a part for everyone."

Of course, nobody believed the prophets and sages when they heard this. One day, sometime later, every musician in the world found a great big package in their mail. It was a huge pile of music. At the top of the first page it read, "Symphony # One, by God, First Movement."

Now all muscians know that a classical symphony has four movements, so they were very eager to get the rest of the symphony. In the meantime, every musician started practicing their part. Sure enough, over the next few months the rest of the symphony arrived in the mail, and musicians all over the world worked very hard on the First Symphony by God.

One day, the prophets and sages came back into the world, and went to every musician saying, "God will conduct the First Symphony on the 6th day of Sivan in the Hebrew calendar for this year. You must meet the day before in the wilderness of Mount Sinai. Everyone must be there!"

On the morning of the 6th of Sivan, every musician in the world was sitting around Mount Sinai, ready to play the First Symphony. The morning sky grew strangely dark, and the air became very still. Lightning flashed on the horizon and thunder rolled. Suddenly, there was a sharp crack of thunder and lightning, and the sky split open in the middle! Four angels floated down to the earth, carrying a golden conductor's platform and a music stand, holding the many pages of the First Symphony.

Next, a swirling pillar of flame and fire came down from Heaven until it touched the conductor's platform. Out of the pillar of flame, a very large conductor's baton came and tapped on the music stand for attention. The Voice of God rolled in the thunder and said, "Let us begin!"

The opening bars of the music were like nothing ever heard before. It was magnificent. The 45 million violinists played softly and sweetly. The 19 million flutists joined in, and several hundred-thousand harps played music that only angels had ever heard before.

Well, to make a short story boring, the introduction to the first movement took 1 and 1/2 years to play. The repeat of the first theme took another two years, and all-in-all, the first movement took seven years to perform, and time had stopped. No one needed to eat or sleep, no one needed to bathe, no one needed anything except to follow the music.

The second movement began with a long, slow, moving adagio that was so sad it made everyone cry. It was as soft as a summer breeze, as gentle as a baby's skin, and as tender as a mother's kiss. The second movement took 5 and 1/2 years to finish.

The third movement was a lively dance, which made everyone tap their feet to the bouncy rhythm. The music twisted and turned, it went very high and then very low. The music jumped, sang, and breezed along. The horn section alone, for 13 million trumpets, 5 million coronets, and 900,000 tubas, not to mention the trombones, took 3 years to perform. All told, the third movement lasted almost eight years!

The fourth movement was unbelievable. It started out strong, almost like jazz. The music went up and down, in and out, round and round. It was wonderful. It kept building up, and then getting quiet again. Moving toward a fantastic ending, the musicians were breathless with the beauty of the sound.

Now it seems, at the very end of the symphony, there was a part written for the solo triangle. The triangle part was supposed to follow this great rush of music, a complete moment of silence, and then the slow chiming of one triangle, all very dramatic, for the end of the symphony. The solo triangle part had been written for the village blacksmith of Ranganpour, India, and he had no other part in the entire symphony.

During the whole symphony, the blacksmith had sat at the back of the orchestra, waiting all of those years for his part. As the fourth movement was being played, and they got closer and closer to his part, he got more and more nervous and excited. He waited and waited, and counted and counted ...six years...eight years.

Finally, in the ninth year, the triangle part had come. There was the great rush of music, there was the great silent rest, and there was the Great Baton pointed directly at him for his cue! He lifted his triangle up, but his hands were trembling so, when he struck the triangle, it fell to the ground with a clatter, and he missed his cue completely.

All the musicians sat there in stunned silence. Nobody moved. Nobody breathed. The Great Baton came to rest on the music stand, and there was a long, terrible, embarrassed silence. Finally, the Voice of God rolled out of the thunder, "Again, from the beginning!"

Challenge Questions

  1. Why hasn't God spoken to masses of human beings since the Mount Sinai experience?
  2. Why did God choose the 6th of Sivan to premier the First Symphony? (Check a Hebrew festival calendar!)
  3. In what other story did we hear about a pillar of flame and fire?
  4. How do you think all those millions of musicians survived in the desert during the playing of the First Symphony?
  5. How do you think the triangle player felt after he missed his cue? How do you think God felt about it?
  6. Why did God ask the orchestra to play the piece over again? (Answers have included, "God wanted it perfect," "God did not want to embarrass the triangle player," and, "God wanted to give them a second chance.")
  7. Do you ever think of your life as being like a piece of music that you are playing? Did you ever think, if you are Jewish, you are being asked to play a special kind of "life music" for God? Did you ever think that maybe the Torah, which was given at Mount Sinai, is really the "score" for a special Jewish music, music that all generations of Jewish people are asked to play?
  8. Do other peoples and cultures have anything like the Torah, something that could be considered their "score" in the great human symphony, God's "Symphony"?