The ta'am(melody) that the Torah is chanted in is a very old and
special melody. It has been handed
down from generation to generation. Its' roots are very deep. They are
found in the mystical teachings of
our religion. Some times people want to be innovative, to create a new
melody. The following story is just
Once there was a secularist who was very good friends with the Rav of the
city. Even though this secularist
differed in opinion from his traditionally observant friends, he still
visited his old friend, the city Rav, on a
regular weekly basis. On one visit, the secularist, began to complain to
the Rav about the unchanging ways
of the Traditional Jewry.
"... And why can't they update the tune to which the Torah is chanted?" the
secularist objected. "How many
years can you continue with the same old tune? Especially today when so
many new and beautiful musical
tunes and melodies are being brought into the world by inventive and
creative composers. Answer me
that!" he demanded of the Rav.
"I'll have to think about it. Maybe you have a point. Perhaps next week
I'll be able to answer you, but for
now could you do me a big favor? I'm short of money and if you could loan
me 50 rubles, I'll pay you back
"Of course," the secularist said, honored that the Rav would ask him for a
loan. He reached into his purse,
"here, take this!" He handed over the money that the Rav requested.
Thanking him warmly, the Rav escorted him to the door and bid him farewell.
The next week the secularist came at his customary tea time and sat with
the Rav, chatting amicably in the
parlor. As the time pressed on, the secularist felt uncomfortable because
the Rav had not offered to return
him the money that he had lent to him so willingly and with out a note.
Finally as the secularist began to
leave, he turned to the Rav and said: "Pardon me for bringing this up, but
did the Rav not promise to return
today the 50 rubles that he borrowed from me last week?"
"I borrowed 50 rubles from you?" was the Rav's surprised reply.
"Yes, don't you remember? Last week when I was here. Before I left!" the
"I borrowed 50 Rubles from you?" the Rav responded with indignation.
"But, but the Rav promised to return the money to me today, and now you are
denying that you even
borrowed the money!" the secularist cried out in pain at the Rav's breach
of faith and denial of the loan.
"I borrowed 50 Rubles from you?" the Rav raised his voice is dismay.
"Yes! How can you deny the good deed I did, loaning you the money. Don't
you remember we were
chatting about the same old tune that has been used for the Torah reading
for so many years? You said
perhaps you would give me an answer this week and then you asked to borrow
50 rubles. And now you
"Who me?" The Rav asked as he broke into a gentle grin, "I'm not denying
anything, I said 'I borrowed 50
Rubles from you' I just changed the tune of my statement!
"Don't let anyone fool you, it's the tune which gives the meaning to the