Thursday, July 13, 2006

I'm sitting here pouring the water of life into my blog with the TV on in the background and "Band of Horses," a band of which I've never heard started playing on the David Letterman Show.

Their sound was good, not to mention the lead singer's high pitched voice, so I stopped and watched for a while.

Anyway, I got to thinking something about bands and the messages that they bring forth into the public sphere. For example, I read something the other day about some criticisms that Jewish folks like us were making of Matishyahu. Apparently, some people are getting the feeling that he's selling out, going big time, something that I think is OK. And then I realized something, that given his nature as a Jewish musician (the terms 'Lubavitcher Chassid' or 'Orthodox Jew' don't mean much to the young and general music-listening population) people have a certain expectation of him and of the message that he brings forth. The same cannot be entirely said of bands that, while sound good to the ear and have a humble feel to them, like Band of Horses, people do not have ideological expectations of them. The truth is that I could barely understand what the lead singer was saying, but the sound of the music, his high voice, what seemed like a British accent, and the faces he was making while anunciating, kept me positively entertained. Perhaps it's because we are Jews that we have higher expectations of our fellow Jew, a sentiment that the general populace does not necessarily share. We want him to remain true to the message.

Matisyahu, were he to appear on live TV again like he did on the Jimmy Kimmel show back in the day, the first time that I heard of him, it could be seen by young Yids as a sellout scheme, a further appeal to the masses. This is amazing and phenomenal, we all (or many of us) act like crazed and long-time fans when Matisyahu makes a move in public. No particular expectation of ideological messages is applied to "Gentile musicians," and while they can still sell out, there is no way that their going on tour would be considered selling out.

May this be a picture of what is to be in the future, when the Meshiach comes and Jews and Torah hit the "main stage" and the knowledge of G-d flourishes with the masses.

Peace, Yaniv...
In my closet is a glass-framed poster with a drawing of Jerusalem on it. Beneath the drawing is a sentence that reads "Peace of Jerusalem." I think of the irony of the sentence since it can be read both "peace of Jerusalem" and "piece of Jerusalem." It is so interesting how Israeli culture usually produces notions related to "peace" and Palestinian culture usually produces notions related to "piece." Truth be told, you never see cultural items coming from Palestinian spheres speaking about "peace of Jerusalem.

Anyway, this got me to thinking. I'm sure many of you are familiar with the account of King Solomon and the two women. Both of them went up to him holding a baby with the claim that the baby was theres. Considering that they could each have been lying, King Solomon simply suggested that the baby be cut in half and that each woman get half of him. At that moment, one of the women cried out that the baby should be given to the other, and at that point King Solomon gave the baby to her. Since she screamed for the life of the baby, King Solomon reasoned that the baby was hers, and she received her child.

Now, if we make an analogy, King Solomon can be seen as a metaphor for G-d, the two women can be seen as metaphors for Israeli's (Jews) and Palestinians (Muslims) and the baby can be seen as Jerusalem. Both of the nations come up to G-d claiming that Jerusalem belongs to them, so G-d suggests that Jerusalem be split in half and each half be given to the respective peoples. Upon this suggestion, the majority of the Israeli people suggest that land be given to the Palestinians in the name of peace, and for this reason G-d gives them Jerusalem. It is because Jews create posters saying "Peace of Jerusalem" that we will get Jerusalem in one piece.