During the Omer mourning period, we do not listen to music. It is one of many customs which reflect our sorrow surrounding the deaths of Rabbi Akiva ‘s 24,000 disciples. Although this is the first day without music, I already feel markedly different. The air is heavier, my mind quieter, my thoughts more somber. It’s as if someone has flicked a switch and plunged us into silence and darkness.
I think it’s fitting.
I recall the Omer period last year, when everything was so different. I didn’t listen to music much then- not as much as I have done recently- and I didn’t stop for the days of the Omer. I was newly observant, and still acclimatising. As far as my memory is concerned, there was no mourning period. I want this year to be different.
I’ll miss the melodies and harmonies as I click the keys; the musical accompaniment to my writing, and the songs which touch my soul. But in some strange way, I like it. It feels appropriate, cleansing, even, and I know that though I might struggle through this time, Hashem is with me, even after the music has stopped.