Attending ‘healing services’ shortly after moving to El Paso in 2004, songwriter Larry Lesser was moved to write his own “Healing Song.” The song concisely and deeply expresses the essence of Jewish prayer for healing in a way that gives the singer and listener abundant space to make their own connection – a connection that is both personal and communal and that ultimately goes beyond words, as reflected by the use of Chassidic niggun syllables in the chorus that have no literal semantic meaning. This song, like most Jewish prayers, is in the first person plural to emphasize our mutual responsibility and fates (see www.jewfaq.org/prayer.htm for further thoughts).
After tweaking the song in January 2008, Lesser showed it to UTEP voice faculty coloratura soprano Ellen Wilson, who then asked to record the song as the only previously unrecorded song on her debut CD Songs of Ascent, recently signed by the MidWest Flawless record label (which is working towards making a music video for the song). “Healing Song” was featured prominently in a KTEP-FM “State of the Arts” interview (by Mónica Gómez) of Wilson and Lesser that aired fall 2008 and in a follow-up taped interview that aired about a year later. The song has been prominently used by congregations (e.g., Yom Kippur and other services at Temple Mount Sinai) and has been found to transcend denominational and faith lines. R. Larry Bach states that “Healing Song” is the most significant song on the CD and “deserves a place in the pantheon of healing music with the Mi Shebeirach settings of Friedman, Levine, and Sher.” While Lesser wrote (and still performs) the song with a fingerstyle guitar arrangement, he also loves the ambient piano-based version on Wilson’s CD produced by Scott Leader.
With Lesser’s blessing, a beautiful new arrangement of “Healing Song” was recorded (by Scott Leader, Larry Bach, and Lisa Tzur) on March 18, 2010 at Phoenix’s Southwest Studios for use in a Bikkur Cholim (visiting the sick) initiative -- a Caring Community project of El Paso's Temple Mount Sinai. In a posting that same day to his blog, the temple’s Rabbi Larry Bach described the song as “[combining] beautiful sounds with sound theology. Never straying into the realm of tefilah lashav (‘praying in vain’), it is equally appropriate as a public prayer for healing at Shabbat worship and at the bedside of a hospice patient.” The recording will published by the Temple as a CD single, given out by representatives from the Temple to local hospital patients, hospice clients, and the homebound and can be heard (streaming) at http://www.templemountsinai.org/healing-song.
On July 20, 2010 a posting about “Healing Song” appeared on http://thehealingmusecafe.blogspot.com, the official blog of the literary journal published by the Center for Bioethics and Humanities at SUNY Upstate Medical University.
To learn more about Wilson, visit: www.ellenmwilson.com or www.youtube.com/ellenmwilson or http://www.midwestflawlessent.net/EWilson.html or http://www.sonicbids.com/Profile/ArtistProfile.aspx?account_id=241296
Guitarists: the easy way is to put a capo on the third fret and choose from these “key of G” chords: G, C, D/F#, Emadd9.
Here are the “HEALING SONG” lyrics:
May it be Your will that we will heal
Completely whole, body and soul.
And may we hear Your love through the fear:
We understand we’re in Your hands. Yai, dai-dai...
May we have our share of future life
And may this prayer bring more light. Yai, dai-dai...
Not me alone - - y'hi ratzon
May it be Your will that we heal…
May it be Your will that we will heal…