Religion

Haunting Eicha Recording

Every once in a while, someone finds a creative way to use an ancient text or practice to see something in the present more profoundly. When done well, this elevates the present through a thoughtful link to longstanding traditions. It’s rare, usually attempts are stilted or out-of-place. But occasionally it works and when it does, it outweighs dozens of awkward non-synergies.
A few years ago Irwin Kula made just such a creative linking. A book had recently come out relating the last messages of 9/11 victims and he set those voicemails to Eicha trope.
It is among the most haunting presentations I have ever encountered. For me, contemplating mortality is a very important spiritual exercise. I try to listen to this recording on 9/11 and tisha b’av. Give it a listen, but be forewarned, this is really really heavy stuff.
If you do listen, take a moment to realize the blessings in your life and their profound fleetingness. Apologies you have been waiting to make, things you have been waiting to say, love you have been waiting to express, injustices you have been scared to confront…enough waiting. Don’t lament, act. We are here but for a very brief time.

9 thoughts on “Haunting Eicha Recording

  1. In fall 2002, Rabbi Kula delivered this in front of a group of roughly 75 who had gathered at the Aspen Institute for a symposium on art, science and spirituality moderated by Douglas Rushkoff and organized by the Western States Arts Federation (I was communications director of WESTAF at the time).
    This chant was the final word on a brief session focusing on reality and perception that had turned into a conversation on our common narratives as humans, across divides of religion and culture. I can tell you that when Kula finished, the room was completely silent and there were very few dry eyes left. Particularly so soon after 9/11, this was one of the more powerful moments at the summit.
    FYI, much of the rest of the summit is pretty interesting, particularly the rest of this session with Kula, graphic novelist Grant Morrison, scientist and historian Muzaffar Iqbal, writer David Pescovitz, and astronomer Trinh Xuan Thuan. For the complete proceedings of the summit, go to:
    http://www.westaf.org/pdfs/ufsBook.pdf

  2. Thanks for the background Gregg. Glad to know more about the provenance of this piece. I searched for a while and couldn’t track it down.

  3. No matter how many times I have listen I still can bear the last 30 seconds.This has been the best find on jew school yet and I thank you. It will serve as a great reminder that despite all the rxing we still have emotions.

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