A moment from this past Friday evening:
We reach Mizmor LeDavid, the prayer that comes right before Lekha Dodi, which is the official opening prayer, as it were, of Shabbat. We dance to Lekha Dodi at my synagogue, always to one of many different fast, rousing tunes. Mizmor LeDavid can be fast, too, but when the energy level seems low, the rabbis sing it at a slower, more contemplative pace.
This night the warm-up of psalms hasn't yet brought us anywhere near Shabbat-appropriate ecstasy, so Mizmor LeDavid is mellow and relaxed. As an experiment, the set-up of the Sanctuary has changed: service leaders (tonight, myself and a rabbi) stand at a bima, with the musicians to our right and behind. I can tell that the congregation is a little unsettled by this, as am I; for the past two years, rabbis and kahal alike sat together in a big semi-circle. But the musicians had trouble hearing one another, so we're going back to the old way for while. Although I miss the electricity of being enveloped by the ensemble, standing in front reminds me of the High Holy Days. I am immediately more confident (and it's easier to breathe, too.)