Dvar Torah: On Bowie

Written by Rabbi Josh Levy — 15 January 2016

Like many men of a certain age, this week I listened to Bowie a lot in the car.
Not for me though Hunky Dory or The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust.
For me, the natural response to hearing of Bowie’s death was once again to dig out (well to find in its exact place in my alphabetically arranged CD collection) a copy of my favourite album of my teenage years – Lou Reed’s Transformer.

Transformer was just one of Bowie’s amazing collaborations.  Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life – the album and the song – were co-written and produced by Bowie; Let’s Dance, was a collaboration with Nile Rogers of Chic; He had hits with Mick Jagger and with Queen, and even with Bing Crosby, though that one might be better left unmentioned.
Though an extraordinary singer and songwriter in his own right, much of Bowie’s work came in collaboration with others.

It is an important lesson for all of us – however talented we might be, we can produce wonderful things when we work with others.  Working with others gives us the confidence to be braveand to try new things, it gives us the challenge to refine our work – as the book of proverbs says: “Iron sharpens iron” as we sharpen our fellows.

Judaism is a religion of collaboration.  It is through studying together, singing together, comforting one another, that we do our best work, making space for the divine presence to dwell among us.

As we prepare to welcome the Shabbat bride, may we do so in a spirit of collaboration, creating space together.  Together, may we find ourselves transformed.