Thursday, January 27, 2011

One Melody - Two Renditions

Modzitz is well known as THE most prolific and melodious of the chassidic dynasties. The founder Reb Yechezkel of Kuzmir zt"l was a student of the Baal Shem Tov. the founder of the chassidic movement. The history of the group is fascinating and you can read more about it here in English. The second Modzitzer Rebbe, Reb Shaul Yedidya Elazer Taub zt'l escaped Poland to the US in 1940 where he remained until 1947 when he came to the Land of Israel to join his son Reb Samuel Eliahu Taub zt'l, with whom he had traveled to Eretz Yisrael in 1935 and who had remained in Tel Aviv with his family. Reb Shaul arrived in 1947 to join his son and lead the chassidut. He took ill and died on November 29, 1947, the very day that the UN voted on partition. He was immediately buried on Har Hazeitim (Mt. of Olives). He was the last Jew to be buried there and his family did not even have a chance to put a stone over the grave. It was not until Jerusalem was re-unified in 1967 that the family was able to do this. The musical chassidic court thrived in Tel Aviv and later moved its headquarters to Bnai Brak.
Over the years the rebbes and their followers have composed and sung hundreds of melodies. But, as happens with folklore, the melodies were sung but not written down (none of the rebbes had musical training). All that is changing now. There is a group (site only in Hebrew) which is recording the melodies and archiving them. They are collecting tapes and interviewing chassidim and have published two disks already.
Both David and I like this kind of music. A few weeks ago we attended a concert in Tel Aviv by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Yuval Cantors Choir and five guest cantors in a program of chassidic music. It was amazing! The clip below is of a Modzitz melody. (recorded with my still camera acting as a video so the quality leaves much to be desired but you get the idea)

Now, listen to real chassidim singing the same melody celebrating Tu B'shvat. (The melody starts around 5 minutes into the video right after the l'chaim.)


1 comment:

Batya said...

Risa, do you remember the Simchat Torah we tried to find a "women-friendly" shul in Geula/Meah Shearim?

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