Ritualwell

Tradition & Innovation

Dror Yikra

By Hadar Cohen

Transcript: Hello, my name is Hadar and I'm going to be sharing with you a spiritual practice around engaging with Jewish music. Song is incredibly important in Jewish tradition. Before scripture was read, it was sung, and there’s such deep potencies in the power of music to evoke the soul, and to awaken us up into a deeper spiritual state. And there’s lots of different types of songs that we use throughout the Hebrew calendar year, for specific times, for specific holidays, for specific readings of Scripture. And my particular favorite is the songs that come with Shabbat, the songs that we sing after a shabbat meal, to rejoice in the beauty and pleasure of shabbat.

So I'm going to be teaching  you, and guiding you through one of those songs. It’s called Dror Yikra, and I will teach you the Sephardic melody. We’re not going to be singing the Hebrew words, we’re going to rather engage in the niggun version. The niggun is a wordless melody - it’s basically using our raw voice to carry the melody of the song. This is a really special practice within Judaism, because it almost says that the words almost kind of don’t matter, and it’s more about what the song does to us, and how the song impacts us.

Yeah, I just want to say that singing can be a vulnerable act, sharing our voice can be very vulnerable. There may be all sorts of judgements that may arise, around the voice not sounding good, or not hitting the right notes. I just invite that for this practice, we allow those judgements to be aside for this moment, and engage in the play and experimentation in the practice, what song can do, and allow to receive from some of it’s magic.

I’m going to teach it slowly, so feel welcome to follow along. And yeah, feel welcome to also close your eyes, or do whatever feels good to allow this song to move you, and notice what’s happening in your body state as you’re singing.

So it starts off like this:

Hadar sings niggun melody. (For full lyrics, click here.)

I hope that song was moving and powerful for you. Feel free to keep on singing, and enjoy it in the comfort of your home, or your Shabbat meal. It was such an honor and pleasure to share this song with you.


Hadar Cohen is a feminist multi-media artist, healer and educator originally from Jerusalem. Her Mizrahi Jewish roots influence her approach to justice, healing, and spirituality. Hadar is the founder of Feminism All Night, a project that designs communal immersive learning experiences about feminism, and is the creator of Jerusalem In Exile, a psychosomatic film on the political and spiritual reality of Jerusalem. Hadar writes a new moon newsletter on the wisdom of Jewish time called "in loving faith". She teaches Jewish scripture and embodied practices through various platforms, including At The Well. Her artistic mediums include performance, movement, writing, weaving, sound and ritual. Hadar is currently a fellow at Abrahamic House, a multi-faith incubator for social change based in Los Angeles. You can check out more of her work at hadarcohen.me.

Thank you to Rise Up, the Nathan Cummings Foundation and Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah for their generous support of Reset.

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