Posts tagged " music "

Should I quit my job?

June 7th, 2019 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 17 comments

I have been listening to you for several months now and I have greatly appreciated the wisdom you share. However, I am currently struggling to apply some of it to my profession because I work at a public school.

Yes, I teach high school music in a GIC and thus am paid by the tax payers of my school district. As such, I do not have a ‘customer’ whom I serve in any direct manner. Additionally, my salary advancement is dependent upon taking more graduate and continuing education courses rather than my job performance.

That said, I try very hard to be conscientious in my work and diligent to serve my students and the community which is paying my salary. However, even I have found it difficult to be motivated at times to do my best work when I know it will make no difference in my paycheck.

I should note that I am a Christian who really believes God called me into this position five years ago, but I am not certain I should stay long term. Based on ancient Jewish wisdom, what would you recommend to someone in my situation? Should I stay in the teaching profession and attempt to counteract the ‘government indoctrination’ of which you speak? Or is my young family best served by me pursuing a different line of work?

Thank you for taking the time to consider my question!

David V.

Dear David,

We’re delighted that you have been finding value in the weekly podcast. You may have heard me (RDL) say that my job is not to massage listeners with warm butter but to tell them the truth. Since you asked this question about your professional life, we are going to show you respect by answering it honestly and directly without any sugarcoating.

You are most likely filling an important function at the GIC (Government Indoctrination Camps formerly known as public schools) where you teach. Not only are you exposing your students to music but you are also, we are confident, exposing them to an excellent example of a Christian man.

However, while you are doing your students some good, as the years go by you will probably not be doing the same for yourself or your family. There are a number of reasons why this is so and you have articulated one of them. (We are going to be incredibly non-politically-correct now and note that we are writing this answer for you as a man, husband and father. We would give a different answer to a woman, wife and mother.) When increasing your salary has nothing to do with how you perform your job, you will be very susceptible to gradual and incremental loss of self respect. As an honorable man you will strive to give your best at your job, but already you are beginning to feel the lack of motivation. As your family responsibilities grow along with your economic needs, you can already see the writing on the wall that will relegate your teaching to what energy you have left over. After all, your paycheck won’t change.

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Twinkling Talent

March 14th, 2019 Posted by Susan's Musings 18 comments

Please don’t tell the budding musicians in my family but, while I go to their first concerts out of love for them, the music isn’t all that great. Hot Cross Buns and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star grow old rather quickly, especially when played by novice violinists and violists.

This past Sunday, I went to a cello concert, once again motivated by love. This time, the performers, who only a few years ago debuted with the songs mentioned above, provided the audience with a rewarding musical experience. We heard the music of JS Bach and Saint-Saens, Bruch (my grandson’s piece) and Paganini. While not yet quite concert-level performers, these young teenagers’ playing revealed the hours of disciplined practice they have invested. It was a delightful ninety minutes.

There was much to admire. The teachers and parents’ dedication and the youths’ hard work and love for music all obviously deserve praise. But something else jumped out at me as well. The five young men and two young women who performed came from different ethnic, religious, economic and racial groups. In addition to their perseverance and talent, they shared something else in common, something that used to be taken for granted but no longer is. Looking around the audience of relatives and friends (and one woman I spoke to who came because she loves music), I saw mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles. And I realized that many teenagers today don’t have that extended family network to cheer them on.

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Music, Morality and Mayhem

November 2nd, 2010 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

During 1969 many young people gathered at rock music festivals at Woodstock in upstate New York and at Altamont in Northern California.  Both events were as much about sex and violence as about music and despite the veneer of innocuous love, both had a dark undercurrent.  Rapes, brutal beatings, numerous injuries and countless concussions were reported at the time.  Several people died at each event.  At Altamont, the Rolling Stones were singing their hit Sympathy for the Devil while eighteen year-old Meredith Hunter was being stabbed to death directly in front of the stage on which Mick Jagger was gyrating.

But this connection between revolutionary music and rejection of conventional Judeo-Christian sexual mores was not invented in 1969.  A hundred and twenty years earlier, Richard Wagner, famously known as Adolf Hitler’s favorite composer, was doing the same thing.  His music contemptuously called for the murder of morality. Though not intended, Wagner’s music opened the doors to terrifying barbarism.

Wagner, a socialist, lived a dissolute existence constantly betraying his wife Minna, often with the wives of men who befriended and supported him.  His music, which I find brilliant though evil, celebrates sexual immorality and violence.

We might wish that renouncing rules of sexual morality would lead to lives filled with love, but instead it usually leads to disappointment and distress. The Bible gives us a glimpse into another physical appetite whose abuse we might not instinctively recognize as similarly dangerous.

Our two most powerful bodily appetites are the craving for carnality and the frenzy for food. Failure to treat these areas in a sacred manner nearly always results in decreased ability to succeed along with eventual physical damage.

Look how differently Moses reacts to various sins of the Israelites.

After the people sinned idolatrously in making the Golden Calf, Moses prayed asking God to forgive them:

On the next day, Moses said to the people,‘You have committed a great sin and now I shall ascend to God, perhaps I will win atonement for your sin.’
(Exodus 32:30)

Amazingly, Moses makes no effort to seek forgiveness for Israel when they sinned with food and sexual depravity. 

The rabble among them cultivated a craving and the children of Israel
also wept again and said, ‘Who will feed us meat?’
(Numbers 11:4)

In verse 6 they continue to ungratefully complain—

But now….there is nothing, we have nothing to anticipate but manna.

Yet a few verses later, the verse doesn’t seem to have anything to do with food.

Moses heard the nation weeping about its families, each one at the entrance to his tent, and God became very angry and it was evil in the eyes of Moses.
(Numbers 11:10)

Ancient Jewish wisdom explains the mysterious phrase ‘weeping about its families.’  They were really weeping about the recently received Bible’s rules defining sex within marriage as the essential key to family life.  The nation resented God requiring confining of bodily appetites.

Whether in politics or in business, anyone whose appetites are out of control is heading toward destruction. That is why I emphasize that one of the great gifts of Bible culture is the set of religious rules restraining sexuality that Judaism and Christianity strive to keep alive. Similarly, a healthy attitude towards food uplifts and ennobles.

Modern music is usually composed of two parts, the lyrics and the music itself. Each of these can inspire or deprave.  Destructive music cannot be casually dismissed. It is often an early symptom of impending problems for those you love or must work with.
 

 What we allow our ears to absorb and what we permit our mouths to say, whether they are our own words or those of musical artists, affects our ability to prosper both socially and financially. In one of my audio CDs I provide practical tips and techniques for getting the most from your mouth. This period as we head towards gatherings with our families and friends, is a wonderful time to become more aware of the astonishing power of the spoken – or sung – word.  

 

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