THE RETURN OF DAVID'S HARP
In the Fields of Ancient Days
Upon the green meadows of Israel long ago, peaceful shepherds sung their songs and played their harps...
The mystical sounds of the harp had been heard from time immemorial. Yuval, one of the great-grandchildren of Adam and Eve, “was the ancestor of all who play kinnor and ugav” (Genesis 4:20-21).
Generations later, a young shepherd named David was inspired by the harp’s peaceful and healing sounds. Wherever David went, he would take his harp with him, and wherever he slept at night, he would hang it on a tree branch above him.
In the middle of the night, as the wind changed direction, it would blow across the strings, and the harp would begin to be played by the wind. David would awaken with inspiration to these mystical sounds, pick up his harp, and sing his deepest feelings to G-d.
Many beautiful melodies were played throughout the land, but the most beautiful of all were the psalms of David. It is known that he composed all of the music for the Psalms upon the Nevel and the Kinnor. Alone in the fields, the future King David would play his harp while tending his flock. As the music flowed from his soul, heaven and earth were joined and new songs would be created. These songs were so powerful that they were famous throughout the kingdom.
In the King’s Court
David’s special ability to join heaven and earth with his harp eventually brought him to play before King Saul to comfort and heal his troubled soul. 3000 years later in our generation, medical research is illuminating the deeper secrets of the harp’s healing power to help us when we need it the most on all levels. (Please see The Healing Harp, Medicine of the Body & Soul).
David had an adventurous and miraculous life starting from his early beginnings as a hidden shepherd among the many shepherds in the land and eventually finding himself wearing the crown as the King of Israel.
The life of David is an inspiration to people all over the world. We can find strength in his story, as he overcame every challenge through his unwavering connection to God.
His Psalms are his journal of music that he played upon the harp throughout his adventures, expressing prayer and love to G-d.
In the Times of the Temple & the Prophets
Heir to David’s throne was his son Solomon. Along with the royal crown, Solomon inherited many gifts. Most likely one of them was his father’s harp. Perhaps Solomon was playing upon this very harp of David while composing the ‘Song of Songs’ (Shir HaShirim).
King Solomon’s highest achievement was building the Temple, the living fulfillment of his father’s dream, a “House of Prayer for all Nations” (Isaiah 56:7).
The harp of David became an essential part of the Temple ceremonies.
Shining down from the mountain, the Holy Temple sent light to afar…
The sweet melodies of the sacred harps played by the Levite harpists flowed daily from the courtyards of the sanctuary. At the time of the pilgrim festivals of Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot, the gentle sound of the harp could even be heard in faraway Jericho!
During the time of the Prophets in ancient Israel, prophecy was interwoven with the accompaniment of the harp. The harp was found to be a “key” that opened a pathway to heaven. As the pure sounds of the harp were heard, a holy spirit of joy and G-dly connection came to dwell within the prophets. Divine messages were received for the people of that time and for future generations.
The harp of Israel was woven into the fabric of everyday life as well as spiritual ceremonies. It was played at public gatherings such as weddings and other joyous occasions, as well as privately, for musical meditation and creative expression.
We see how intertwined it was into the Jewish culture of the Temple period so much so that it was even minted as a symbol on the coins of that time.
Yet the land was to see darker times…
Heard for thousands of years, the sweet melodies of the harp of Zion came to an abrupt end when the Second Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. "Wandering In Exile By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat, we also wept when we remembered Zion."
"עַל נַהֲרוֹת בָּבֶל שָׁם יָשַׁבְנוּ גַּם בָּכִינוּ בְּזָכְרֵנוּ אֶת צִיּוֹן"
"On willows in its midst we hung our harps." "עַל עֲרָבִים בְּתוֹכָהּ תָּלִינוּ כִּנֹּרוֹתֵינו"
"For there our captors asked us for words of song and our tormentors [asked of us] mirth, "Sing for us of the song of Zion." "כִּי שָׁם שְׁאֵלוּנוּ שׁוֹבֵינוּ דִּבְרֵי שִׁיר וְתוֹלָלֵינוּ שִׂמְחָה שִׁירוּ לָנוּ מִשִּׁיר צִיּוֹן"
"How shall we sing the song of the Lord on foreign soil?" "אֵיךְ נָשִׁיר אֶת שִׁיר יְהֹוָה עַל אַדְמַת נֵכָר" (Psalm 137: 1-4)
Since hanging our harps two thousand years ago with bitter tears and led away captives into the dark night of exile, the sound of the harp was heard no more…Throughout the ages, we wandered from place to place with no safe haven to call our home.
Yet hope always prevailed.
We dreamed for many years to rise from the ashes and return to our destiny and homeland.
In the Land of Forever…
In our days we are living the fulfillment of ancient prayers as we gather together as a nation once again. The long silence of our exile is now being filled with the sound of the harp being played once more in its native land and beyond…
In 1984, the process of restoration began when Micah Harrari built the first Biblical harp in two thousand years as a gift of love for his wife, Shoshanna. Since that time the Biblical harp has been continuing its journey as a living legend…
We are all beginning to understand the significance of the harp of David and its destiny. Down through history, it was always known as a symbol of joy and redemption, our hope for the future…
Our contribution at the House of Harrari is to restore the harp of David to its rightful place in the world. We build each one by hand, as our ancestors did, with the care and skill necessary to create the highest quality harps for joy, prayer, and healing as in the days of old, and for the future, as we come close to the time of redemption…
More than just a beautiful musical instrument, we are seeing clearly how the harp of David is connected with the destiny of Israel and the future of the world.