We often stray away from the traditional liturgy to compose our own prayers. We reflect on our personal life, and from the recesses of our minds and hearts our prayer is composed. The text of this prayer is tailor made for our current situation and exact mood. It expresses exactly what we think and fell right now.
But can words really contain the true power of our thoughts? How can letters capture the immense energy of my feelings and emotions? The answer is that indeed words cannot fully express our essential self. The only way that we can bring out our inner most self is not by words but by song, especially the melodies without words. According to Kabbalah the song is the quill of the soul. Melody allows for our essential self to be known to ourselves and others.
Kabbalisitic masters have composed hundreds of songs with various meaning behind them, for us to use as inspiration, and for us to be able to express our inner most selves in our daily meetings with our G0d. For more on the Jewish tradition of song read this summary by Rabbi Tzvi Freeman. Do yourself a favor and listen to this classic prayer melody - The Three Stanzas.
Digging deeper, it seems that melodies have limitations too. Each melody has a specific rhythm to it. Some songs elicit joy, some induce deep yearnings, and some melodies remind us of how small we are. But the essence our soul is deeply connected to G0d beyond the limitations of joy, sadness or any mistake that we can ever make. The only way to connect G0d on that level is through the Primal Cry. No tune, no notes, no melody. Just a simple sound coming out from the depth of our soul, reaching out to the highest of high, connecting with our loving and accepting G0d.
This month, as we prepare to enter the new Jewish Year, we conclude our daily morning with a blast of the Shofar - a ram's horn. There are many meaning to this practice, the most profound one being that the Shofar is our way of expressing our deepest self, through a Primal Cry. The Primal Cry takes us past all of our limitations, and puts us in touch with our purest self, which is in turn in touch with the essence of G0d.
So, next time you think of prayer, think beyond words. Consider a melody, or perhaps even a Primal Cry. You may sound like a baby crying for its parent, but that a good thing...