The essay below appears as an afterword to the new book "Jews Who Rock," compiled by Guy Oseary of Maverick Records. "Jews Who Rock" is a who's who of prominent musicians who are Jewish, from Beck to Art Garfunkel to Lou Reed. Excerpted with permission from St. Martin's Griffin.
Last night I sat with a friend who has a tremendous passion for searching out the truth. He is a very intense fellow who sometimes leans a bit far out with his conspiracy theories. We discussed different topics, varying from the origins of HIV virus to real cures for cancer. He believes that a lot of misinformation is being disseminated by pharmaceutical corporations who want to drive the drug industry. As the night grew more heated my friend began bearing down on the theory that Jesus never existed, nor did Moses. He claimed they were invented by the powers that be to control the masses. That people need myths. Something to believe in. The Bible, he said, was written and edited by so many people that there isn't any real truth to it.
Here was a fellow that I enjoyed speaking with, and I appreciated his thirst for knowledge. But at that moment I broke down. I said to him, "You know when you tell me that the Bible was invented by someone...and it never happened, that is like telling me that I am not real, because you are speaking about my family. Because that book is a history of my family. My name, Peretz, was chosen in honor of one of those relatives. You see, the Jewish people, whether they understand it or not, are living proof that they are not myths but real history. And because we are kept alive this very day is in fact proof that God exists because, if it weren't for his intervention, we wouldn't be here. And that is a reason to praise his name."
I study the Torah. And when a person tells me that the Torah is a book written by some man, I tell him, "When explored, the Torah is an operating system that has overtures to genetics, music and metaphysics."
To understand what you really have in your hands when you hold the Torah inspires awe. The author is divine.
The parsha (Torah portion) Behar in Vayikra (Leviticus 25-27) has inspired me above all other writings, and I am working to bring in the Jubilee for our generation.
King David was a famous musician before becoming king. He would go out to the people and sing. He had a harp that he kept by his bed and it would begin to resonate at night. In the years before he became king, he wrote and sang the ultimate blues. He had more people chasing him than the hairs on his head and thus began the writing of the Psalms, songs written in longing for a kingdom.
There are nine songs that are called holy
The first, was written by Adam
After he was cast down to earth
God forgave him and the Sabbath came
He was so overjoyed
He wrote "A Song of the Sabbath day"
The children of Israel began singing when
The sea was split before them and they were
Freed from Egypt....
The last of the holy songs written
Was by King Solomon
Called "Holy of Holies" because it
Spoke of love and consummation
Inspired by the completion of the Temple
Scholars debate whether God loved the Temple
Or the Song more....
In our most ecstatic moments
man raises up to song
There is a song ahead
that has not yet been sung.
This song, they say
will be sung by the children of exile
and that the mountains
every blade of grass will resonate
and that song will come at last