Day 43 Of The War: [Not] Listening To Music

"The  complete nobody who tore our  people apart"
"The complete nobody who tore our people apart"

I’ve heard from many friends and people of all ages that since October 7th, they’ve stopped listening to music altogether. Even a friend who is a pianist told me that she couldn’t bring herself to touch the piano. I’ve noticed that I’have the same problem, I cannot  listen to music, although occasionally, at the restaurant someone puts on music and it is comforting.

When I lost my husband, I struggled to connect with my emotions: I felt frozen. In a way, what I feel now, amid our collective mourning, reminds me of the complete numbness  I experienced when my personal world collapsed. At that time, sixteen years ago, a friend bought me a season ticket to the Israeli Philharmonic. I was reluctant to go, the idea of sitting in a concert hall and listening to music seemed impossible. However, he insisted, and I went. He was right of course,  sheltered by the darkness, I sat alone, listening to music, and was finally able to weep.

So I know from past experience that music works: it can thaw that internal freeze. But for now, I’m refraining from listening, perhaps because I’m not ready yet to confront the enormity of the tragedy that befell us.

I recall that right after October 7th, many singers and bands traveled across Israel to perform for evacuees. At the time, I didn’t pay much attention or think about it, but in retrospect, I recognize that it was exactly what we needed.

This morning, I heard, again, the protest song that was released in a video more than a week ago. It is a cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence,”  In the video, Uri Weinstock, Lee Gaon, and Gabi Sidon sit in a safe room, accompanied by an acoustic guitar,  sing softly and address each member of the government and coalition by name demanding their resignation and sending them to hell. The lists ends with the man in charge:  Netanyahu: “The complete nobody who tore our people apart”. The song has several verses, and each one each group of names ends with the reason: “because they killed us”, “because they kidnapped us,” :because they slaughtered us.” The  beautiful and quiet melancholic melody, together with the specific names of those despicable politicians, is especially painful, and for me it was much more powerful than any other protest or a form of art. 

I feel that soon I should start listening to music again, perhaps starting with the “real” Simon and Garfunkel. It’s time to face this sadness before it deepens into depression

About the Author
I have a PhD in English literature from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and I usually write about issues concerning women, literature, culture and society. I lived in the US for 15 years (between 1979-1994). I am widow and in March 2016 started a support/growth Facebook group for widows: "Widows Move On." In October 2017 I started a Facebook group for Older and Experienced Feminists. .