|The Story Behind the Dance|
In 2008 , I heard the song [Ilan] on Yaakov Shwekey’s album, “Ad B’li Dai.”
The song was in my head for a year before I created the dance. But since I was immediately “hooked” by Yochanan Shapiro’s music and the powerful arrangement, I decided to look into the meaning of the words.
The lyrics are taken from the Babylonian Talmud Tractate Ta’anit, page 5 b.
In this Tractate, Rabbi Nachman asks Rabbi Yitzchak for his blessing before they part.
Rabbi Yitzchak replies - Let me tell you a parable.
A man was traveling in the desert. He was hungry, weary and thirsty and he came upon a tree whose fruits were sweet, its shade pleasant, and a stream of water flowed beneath it. He ate of its fruit, drank of the water, and rested under its shade.
When he was about to leave, he said:
Tree, O tree, with what shall I bless you? Shall I say, ‘May your fruits be sweet’? They are sweet already. That your shade be pleasant? It is already pleasant. That a stream of water may flow beneath you? Lo, a stream of water already flows beneath you.
Therefore I say, ‘May it be G-d's will that all the shoots planted from you will be like you.’
And so it is also with you.
With what shall I bless you? With the knowledge of Torah? You already possess it. With riches? You are already rich. With children? You have children already.
Hence I say, ‘May it be G-d's will that your offspring be like you.’
This benediction turned out to be better than all the blessings. Through the dance, I tried to express the meaning of the words:
Part One: The forward and backward movements represent a tree swaying in the wind.
Part Two: The beginning of the dilemma - how will I bless the tree? We enter and retreat from the circle; we move from side to side and then turn in place searching for the appropriate benediction.
Part Three: Moving forward into the center of the circle while the hands are raised symbolizes growth and reflects the growth of other trees in response to the image of the blessed tree.
Part Four: Expresses the tranquility reached after the realization that he had found the ultimate blessing and he continues on his way.