my thoughts on silence

If you’ve been listening to our podcast, you’ve heard Mary and me talk about the past Three Weeks – the time between the Fast of the 17th of Tammuz and the Fast of the 9th of Av – in which we have switched off all of the music in our lives. For Mary, that also included not going to the gym regularly, where they blast the power workout music, and for me, that meant not listening to my beloved podcasts or my classical radio station, which fill my home with voices and soothing music, so I don’t feel alone.


It’s actually a surprisingly long time. In the long run, it flies by – no sweat. But in the short run, when you’re really “feeling it” every day, it is a while.

Note: we chose to do this not only because it’s traditional, but also so that we would “feel” the mourning we’re supposed to be doing for these three weeks, in keeping with Psalm 137:5, where we put Jerusalem over our greatest joy.

Obviously, we can’t control the fact that stores often play music for their customers, or companies play music for customers on hold. But with the exception of the grocery store, I don’t really shop that much, and I didn’t shop at all these past three weeks. And I avoid the phone like the plague, so I didn’t have hold music, either.

Interestingly, when I cut out the music I normally listen to, and replaced it with nothing, I found that my mind reached way back into my childhood to find songs to hum or sing. I had been listening to a lot of Ingrid Michaelson and Colbie Caillat before the Three Weeks, and I was surprised to find that I really didn’t automatically start humming those songs when no music was on. Instead, I had my standbys – “And He Shall Feed His Flock” (from Handel’s Messiah – don’t ask my WHY this is the song that is ALWAYS in my head! it used to be the Can Can, so this is at least a step up…) and “La Vie en Rose”. Then, one day, I randomly started singing “Can He, Could He, Would He”, which is a song my dad used to sing to us when we were really little. I don’t even know more than the one line. So that got repetitive… Then there was the day of “I’m Inright, Outright, Upright, Downright Happy All the Time” from my children’s church days. ?!

Anyway, it intrigued me to find where the musical sector of my mind would go when I didn’t input anything. It turns out I have a lot of history in there. Perhaps you should try it sometime, too. Maybe next year? 🙂


P.S. – I looked up “Can He, Could He, Would He” on YouTube while penning this post, and it turns out I had absolutely no idea what that song was about. For some reason, I had connected it to a man who swam the English Channel, or something like that… Totally wrong. Wow.


One thought on “my thoughts on silence

  1. The man who swam the English Channel??? The song I sang you is about our blessed Messiah!

    The last two lines of the chorus:

    Can He? Could He? Would He (bear our sins, hang on a tree and become accursed of G-d)?
    YES! He can. He could. He would – and He DID!!

    Ready? Sing it with me…

    CanHecouldHewouldHe? Yes, HecanHecouldHewould and He did!

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