Then I had my injury, and I felt that a whole world was shut to me. Little by little, one of the speech therapy exercises (blowing bubbles with water and a metal straw) helped my vocal chords to close, and my pitch got higher. Then my breathing exercises improved my volume. So, my voice got somewhat better, but singing at services had lost its appeal for me. The only one I want when I need a quiet, safe space to calm my anxiety and fear was the Havdalah ritual.
Since quite a few weeks, I’ve started to go on Zoom on Saturday nights (when I don’t forget about it), and Eric has been joining me. I’ve been following Ellen, my cantor friend, on the journey she’s mapped for the night. Singing those gorgeous chants and Havdalah blessings along with Ellen’s beautiful voice and the vibrating sound of the shruti box always takes the fear and anxiety away. Chanting is a deep sigh.