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A Natural Symphony
by Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover

Dr. Bernie Krause is an internationally acclaimed expert in "bio-acoustics," a field devoted to studying sound production and reception in living beings. Since the sixties, Dr. Krause has been recording the sounds of nature. He has captured more than 3,500 hours of sound from the continent of Africa alone: calls of birds, mammals, insects, reptiles and amphibians of all types. Originally a musician, he was drawn to the field of bioacoustics, the most primal of all music. He was struck by the fact that each creature has its own acoustical territory, like the distinctiveness of each musical instrument in an orchestra. Each creature in the natural symphony uses the instruments that it has been equipped with by nature to produce its unique sound, which can be recognized by members of the same species. The blending of all the sounds of nature produces a wondrous harmony, which in no way impedes the striking "solo" sounds of each creature for itself.

*  *  *

Chassidic teachings explain that the song of each individual creature is the expression of its essence, an inner response to the call of G-d, to the ten Divine utterances with which G-d called His creations into being. The utterances were composed of letters of speech, each one of them a unique Divine note. These notes can be combined in infinite permutations, producing hosts of living creatures of all sorts.

Of all living creatures, only one was granted the power of free will. Animals, plants, inanimate matter—all are limited to behaving exactly the way in which G-d intended. They cannot reason or choose to act differently. And this is reflected in their song. The power of the natural symphony is that it encompasses the unique sounds of each creature into a unified song of praise to the L-rd and Master of all creation.

Yet we, the human beings, are the only ones who can sing before G-d with a conscious song, out of our own free will. Our sages relate that there were nine songs of praise that the Jewish people sang to G-d over the course of history. Some were sung by the people as a whole, such as the Song of the Sea after the Sea of Reeds split, and some were sung by individuals, such as the Song of Devorah, which she sang after the Jewish victory over General Sisera.

Our sages promise that there will be a 10th song, which will surpass all the preceding nine. This song will be composed in honor of the final Redemption, with the revelation of Moshiach. All of creation will raise its voice in unison to sing praise to G-d. Now, during the final moments of exile, we can begin to hum the tune, out of perfect faith and trust in the immediate materialization of the promised Redemption.

Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover is chairman of the Center of Magnetohydrodynamic Studies and Training at Ben-Gurion University.



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