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Unread 02-26-2002, 01:17 AM   #76
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The story:

“The Berdichiver was an exceptional Baal Menagen,” the Rebbe Maharash told my father (the Rebbe Rashab), “but your uncle’s talents found expression in playing the violin.”
“One evening,” the Rebbe Maharash continued, “I walked into our hotel room and received a shock. Your uncle was sitting in an armchair with his arms clasped, his eyes wide and glazed, his mouth open. He trembled, as though feverish.”
The second I saw him I became frightened. What was going on? But then the strains of a violin wafted in from next door: Our neighbor, the virtuoso, was practicing his instrument. I realized then that your uncle, given his deep appreciation for music, had fallen under the violin’s spell. He was totally captivated by the haunting melody our neighbor was playing. Indeed, it had brought him to an expression of Kelos Hanefesh.”
The Previous Rebbe wrote this letter. Dated, 25 Tammuz 5698/July 24,1938
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Unread 02-27-2002, 02:20 PM   #77
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i have a question to ask on this whole idea! if the reason we dont listen to non jewish music is because we are connecting to the soul of the composer it is definatly the music and not the words that is the problem! so why then is it ok to listen to and sing songs which are to tunes from non jewish composers where the words have been changed?
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Unread 02-27-2002, 04:09 PM   #78
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Because the source may have been a holy source which was usurped by the klipos. Who can tell? In general, only holy people; but sometimes a Chossid with an ear for nighgunim can chap one.
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Unread 02-27-2002, 09:05 PM   #79
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BLew, this story, and previous stories here, have me confused.
Was the music that he was listening to Jewish?! If not, (as it seems) then that gives over a confusing message. If we are to have such "great mesiras nefesh" to abstain from listening to non-Jewish music, including Jewish non-Jewish music....what kind of message is this?
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Unread 02-27-2002, 09:08 PM   #80
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<<sometimes a Chossid with an ear for nighgunim can chap one. >>
Really? Where's that from?
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Unread 02-28-2002, 12:07 AM   #81
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Look, some people have the ability to sift the goyishe music with Jewish toichen from the goyish music without toichen. The point of this story is not to go get high on Metallica ch"v! BLew, what was the Frierdiker Rebbe saying before and after he brought down this story?
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Unread 02-28-2002, 09:38 AM   #82
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oh so when we sing a song that is properly non jewish and like the latest pop song out but three words have been changed to jewish words its ok? somehow i dont think so! its just as much garbage as it was before so whats the difference?
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Unread 02-28-2002, 04:21 PM   #83
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I am NOT writing the whole story, but I'll tell you where it is:

Extraordinary Chassidic Tales Volume 3 page 22

Also I missed out an important point; it was an Italian virtuoso (playing the violin).
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Unread 02-28-2002, 04:38 PM   #84
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I imagine that it was a non-Jewish Italian.
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Unread 02-28-2002, 11:04 PM   #85
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Quote:
its just as much garbage as it was before
Well, that's exactly what we're saying; some songs have kedusha hidden within them. Most, however are and always will be garbage, no matter what some Jewish pop singer does to it!
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Unread 04-01-2002, 11:12 AM   #86
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BS”D
The Slogan of Modern Music: Everything is Permitted!

This answer appears to be to the question of whether to create Jewish music that is similar in some respects to goyishe music (perhaps even to remake existing goyishe music using Jewish lyrics):

The area of music is unique. The present situation is that [the popular music] is not just secular, but that it also forms the listeners’ attitude towards excitement of their evil inclination, destruction of the existing “boundaries” and “order” (including, to our great anguish, mainly in the area of modesty) etc.

On the one hand, this emphasises even more the need for your plan (since it is literally a matter of spiritual life and death [“pikuach nefesh mammosh”]).

On the other hand, this magnifies even more the difficulty etc. in carrying it out since you must fight against the existing situation, to negate the suspicion of the religious listeners and leaders, which is based on the atmosphere prevalent in the music world of the youth and even of the adults. Furthermore, and this is also primary – how can it be ensured that for those for whom this will “introduce them” to the world of music it will not introduce them also to its very large (at least in quantity) already existing side, which is very colourful and knows no boundaries, and on the contrary – its slogan is: everything is permitted, everything is desirable for you to try yourself davka [and find out] what it is all about, and when the time comes you will decide for yourself your attitude to it without any preconceptions whatsoever.

Dem Reben’s Kinder pps. 204-5
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Unread 04-09-2002, 07:45 PM   #87
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Bit off topic, but music related ;-) Just came across this amazing song...pretty much fits our current situation...(you need real player to hear it):

http://www.tuviabolton.com/songs/Shalom.ram

Enjoy!

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Unread 04-15-2002, 12:51 AM   #88
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Doesn't Bolton play hard rock in bars? And he's a Rosh Yeshiva... (of the BT Yeshiva in Kfar) What does that suggest? Or does he play Jewish music with a rockish bend to it? Did he get permission from the Rebbe, or is this just his thing?
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Unread 04-15-2002, 01:01 AM   #89
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BS"D PLEASE VERIFY THAT. How can you write that if you don't know for sure?
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Unread 04-15-2002, 01:04 AM   #90
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I've heard from guys who learned in Kfar and had a kesher with him. But I don't know the details.
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Unread 04-15-2002, 03:33 AM   #91
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PLAYED in bars before beoming a BT. Does not play now.
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Unread 04-15-2002, 05:42 PM   #92
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did any of you listen to that song? (oh, wait, its sefira....hmm...)
its hysterical
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Unread 04-15-2002, 05:45 PM   #93
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Good point...but it's the words that count in this song, not the music ;-)

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Unread 04-15-2002, 11:53 PM   #94
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Thanks for the clarification! That's a bit more understood...
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Unread 04-16-2002, 03:42 PM   #95
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BS"D People underestimate the intense power of music in creating moods and middos. If a person has just listened to a march, he will feel confident. If he has just listened to something melancholy, that's how he will feel.

So we must ask ourselves - do we want to expose ourselves to "harmless" music which creates bad middos? For once ingrained, these bad middos are very hard to root out...

Last edited by noahidelaws; 04-16-2002 at 04:05 PM.
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Unread 04-16-2002, 03:51 PM   #96
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I have actually put something together about music, and how it affects us. It’s pretty long and as of now, un-edited.

If you would like me to send it to you please PM me.
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Unread 04-16-2002, 08:25 PM   #97
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I think it would benefit anyone who has subscribed to this thread. so how 'bout making it into a thread or adding it to this one?
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Unread 04-16-2002, 10:33 PM   #98
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Disclaimer: This is (as of now) un-edited, and not 100% finished. Since you asked for it…

A small essay on music by Blewbavitch:

Music.

Chabad songs are unique in content and in form. Some express longing; others reflect meditation, introspection and self-evaluation; still others express joy and ecstasy, but all alike reveal the inner state of the singer’s soul.

In the writings (Tsavaas Habesht) we find the statement that, “Prayer performed with joy is more acceptable to G-d than Prayer which is accompanied by sadness and tears.” The Beshtian School, faithful to this concept of song, was characterized primarily by happy-sounding and rhythmic melodies. The strains of shepherd melodies evident in the Beshtian music in no way harmed the Kedushas Hanigun, sanctity of the melody, for the essence of a Nigun, according to Chassidism, is the sound, and if the sound is derived from impure sources there is a duty to elevate, purify, and sanctify it until it is worthy of responsibility for which it was created. Like the zealous ******ians of the Middle Ages, some of the Chassidic leaders considered it a holy duty to use secular tunes for sacred purposes. Many leaders felt that this was a greater virtue than creating an original melody. It is told of Leib Sarah’s (1730-1791) and his pupil, Rabbi Yitzchok Issac Taub, the Tzadik of Kalev, that once upon walking in the woods they suddenly came upon a shepherd singing a tender love song. Intrigued with the melody, the Tzadik of Kalev immediately copied the song and paraphrased it in Yiddish. This song is still sung today by numerous Chassidic dynasties both in the Yiddish version and in adaptations for various liturgical texts.
Those who opposed Chassidism, and many music scholars who made little effort to understand the soul of Chassidic music, never failed to emphasize that foreign elements can be found within its melodies. However, even the borrowed motifs never remained as they had originally been. They were worked and reshaped into a new form, the form of the Chossid. From this a new melody resulted, born of Spiritual Judaism, which became the individualistic melody known as the Chassidic Nigun.
One must bear in mind that for all intents and purposes we are dealing strictly with an oral tradition. With very few exceptions this music was transmitted by rote. For various reasons Chassidic leaders issued prohibitions against committing Nigunim to paper in musical form. Primarily, they felt that once written down, these Nigunim would become public domain and might be used in a manner, which would corrupt their original intent. It is a known fact that a number of songs which did find their way into print were used by individuals and institutions not dedicated to the service of G-d. Secondly, they felt that even sophisticated musical notation could not adequately express the soul and pathos evoked in the singing of these songs.
With regard to borrowed motifs and styles, it is worthwhile to remember that Chassidim created their music in foreign cultures and that no creation can be called Mekoris (original) if it does not grow in its natural homeland. Only through the spiritual homeland, which the Chassidim created, were they able to infuse into some of these foreign currents as an individual soul. With less success later on did Chassidim, notably those of Kotzk and Ger, make use of the melodies of Schubert, Chopin and Verdi. That these melodies have been completely forgotten by the Chassidim is the best indication that they did not lend themselves to a reworking into the Chassidic mold.

For Chabad, Niggunim were not only an integral part of Chassidism – the songs are a complex philosophy unto themselves. The Chabad system, as first formulated by Rabbi Shneor Zalman of Liadi, strives for the same goal as the other branches of Chassidim, namely the attaining of divine bliss. But it had, and still has, a unique approach to that goal. Chabad contends that it is impossible to leap immediately from extreme melancholy to extreme joy. It is impossible for a human being to rise from the lowest to the highest state without proceeding through the whole scale of the intermediate sentiments of the soul. Great stress and care is laid upon each progressive stage of development, as significant for the education of the soul and for the improvement of the spirit. It is, Chabad Chassidism contends, as of someone who had never seen the interior of a palace suddenly stepped into its bewildering splendor without first having passed through its corridors. Such a person will never be able to sense fully the glory of the palace. The approach to joy, therefore, is extremely important, and each and every step must be achieved through deep meditation. The various stages in the this process of elevation according to Chabad philosophy are:
1) “Hishtapchus Hanefesh”, the outpouring of the soul and its effort to rise out the mire of sin, out of the Kelipah, the evil shell.
2) “Hisoreruss”, spiritual awakening.
3) “Hispaalus”, the stage in which the individual is possessed by his thoughts.
4) “Dvaikus”, communion with G-d.
5) “Hislahavus”, flaming ecstasy.
6) “Hispashtus Hagashmiyus”, the highest state, in which the soul completely casts away its garment of flesh and becomes a disembodied spirit.
Many of the Chabad songs are analyzed according to these steps of elevation.

A system such as this, could with much less success than the Beshtian school seek tunes from the outside, because no such program underlay the folk songs of the gentiles. True, one can find among Chabad Niggunim many songs of Russian and Ukrainian origin, often sung verbatim in these languages. By and large, however, these are the shorter and happier melodies of their repertoire. For the achievement of the goals as outlined above, Chabad was compelled to create original tunes which could express the meanings and thoughts of the various stages of elevation, tunes to be used as a means for the attainment of its purpose. Every Chabad tune aims to voice either all, or some, of the stages of elevation of the soul.

Both Rabbi’s and laymen, following long-standing traditions are creating much music today. Whereas in generations gone by, European influences could be detected in Chassidic melodies, one can today find strains of American, Israeli or Oriental motifs. Discussion of these recent creations has been lively many labeling them neo-Chassidic rather than Chassidic songs. Those who refuse to accept these new melodies, especially the compositions of the younger generation, contend that they are merely secular melodies which have been attached to sacred text and can, at best, be called “Shir Dosi”, religious song. One should bear in mind, however, that the same motive that inspired Chassidic composers of yesteryear is often present in the activity of the modern day composers. The true test of these songs and their proper labeling will be in their acceptance or non-acceptance among the Chassidim. Those that will be sung regularly among the various Chassidic groups and will enter permanently into their repertoire will deserve to bear the title Chassidic. As pointed out previously, the presence of foreign influences or of secular melodies in their music has in no way minimized the contribution that Chassidim have made and are making at the present time to this great body of Jewish Music.

“Through song the gates of heaven can be opened. Sadness closes them. The origin of all songs is holy, for impurity has no song. It is the root of all sadness” (Rabbi Naftoli of Ropshitz)

The Talmud presents the teachings of the Torah in a highly personalized form. Each statement is given with an author: Rabbi Akiva said such-and-such… The Talmud states: (Yerushalmi, Shabbos 1:2) When you say over a teaching you should see its author as if he were standing before you.

The previous Rebbe, says that this applies also to melody (and also telling a story). When one sings a melody relating to a great figure of the past, it is as if that person were actually present. A further point made by the previous Rebbe:

“When one says over a Torah teaching, one is unifying oneself with the Nefesh, Ruach, Neshome [the lower three levels of the soul] of the author of that teaching. But if one sings his melody, one is joining with the Chaya-Yechidah, [the upper two levels of his soul].”

In other words, by singing the melody of a teacher one is entering into a bond which is even more powerful than that achieved by studying his Torah teaching.

The Chabad melodies, whatever their source in the folk music of the Russian countryside, are generally understood by the Chassidim as expressing spiritual yearning, joy and meditative awareness of the divine. To sing a melody at a Chassidic gathering, usually under guidance of a teacher, can be an intense personal spiritual experience.

Here is a melody of yearning taught by the Rebbe. It is known as Shamil’s Nigun, for the tradition is that this melody was sung by the mid-19th century Georgian figure Shamil when in captivity. A fierce bandit leader, he had been tricked by the Czar’s soldiers into surrendering. This was the song he sang in prison expressing his longing for freedom. For the Chassidim, this melody denotes the yearning of the soul to rejoin with G-d. The soul has been tricked to enter the limitations of the body and this physical world. Now it yearns to recover its original spiritual state, of wholeness and freedom. All association with the historical Shamil, a violent and lawless figure, are forgotten. What is left is a spiritual melody which imbues the singer with a yearning for the Divine.

From the writings and sayings of the Chassidic leaders come these statements regarding the unique power of Neginah:

If I were a singer, I would accept upon myself the duty of traveling from city to city in order to lead prayers in the various synagogues.
(Rabbi Pinchas of Koretz)

A person sees himself as he truly is through a Chassidic Nigun.
(Sayings of Chabad)

Song opens a gate from the mind to the heart.
(Sayings of Chabad)

Music originates from the prophetic spirit, and has the power to elevate one to prophetic inspiration. (Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav)

The nature of the Levite’s work was the daily creation of new songs. Also the angels on high create new songs daily, and with the power of the new song they renew each day the miracle of the creation. (Rabbi Pinchas of Koritz)

The bad traits in man come from the animal instinct within him. Through the power of the Nigun it is possible to remove this instinct.
(Baal Shem Tov)

All the work of the Angels is performed with song.
(Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav)

I cannot sit at the Shabbos table without a new song. There is no festive Shabbos without a new song.
(Tzadik of Kuzmir)

A melody should be sung with the same correctness that one would employ in citing a commentary on Torah learned from one’s teacher or Rabbi.
(Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok of Lubavitch)

A Nigun can pull one out of the deepest mire.
(Rabbi Shneor Zalman of Liadi)

When one hears a song sung well or played well, all sadness is driven away and is replaced with joy.
(Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav)

Song reveals the beauty within the soul.
(Rabbi Sholom DovBer of Lubavitch)

Through song calamities can be removed.
(Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav)

If you sing a Nigun correctly without mistakes then the Nigun speaks for itself.
(Sayings of Chabad)

The tongue is the pen of the heart, but melody is the quill of the soul.
(Rabbi Shneor Zalman of Liadi)

Every locksmith has a master key with which he can open many doors. Neginah is such a key, for it can unlock all doors.
(Sayings of Chabad)

Speech reveals the thought of the mind, but melody reveals the emotions of longing and delight. These stem from the inner self, from the very soul and are much higher than reason and intellect.
(Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok of Lubavitch)

A person should not have an ear just to hear the songs of others, but also to hear the songs which sing from within his heart.
(Rabbi Yisroel of Modzitz)

Through the power of Neginah one may conquer the heart.
(Maggid of Koznitz)

One Nigun can express more than a thousand words.
(Tzadik of Kuzmir)

Even the most wicked can be turned to repentance upon hearing a song which emanates from a Tzadik’s innermost heart.
(Baal Shem Tov)

Our opponents wonder at the sight of Chassidim singing and dancing at their assemblies. If they understood our viewpoints, would they not become our comrades?
(Sudilkover Rebbe)

The bottom line is, music is one of the most powerful tools, with which one can change a life, bring out joy, or just bring out one’s essence. Obviously one must take extreme care to maintain the right path of music, and not G-d forbid get engrossed in the opposite forces (the evil forces) of music, which, are just as powerful a tool, and in some cases more powerful.

(I added this part now, please excuse the fact that it's here and not in the main article:

The Mishna Brurah (Shaar HaTziyun, laws of Tisha bAv) brings in the name of the Shelah that a woman should not sing a baby to sleep with a non-jewish melody, because it can have an affect on the baby's neshoma.

Music has tremendous power over us. It has the power to make us happy, sad, angry, optimistic, or hopeless. It can get a lazy person moving, make our hearts beat faster, and make us shed tears. The Vilna Gaon writes that if someone could theoretically harness the power in music they would be able to actually “revive the dead” with it.

Music comes from a person’s soul, says the Kuzari. The tune can have an effect even on the soul of a little baby that hears it, says the Shelah. So music is really a form of communication, soul-to-soul, that comes from somewhere deeper than the place where we make conscious decisions, and penetrates to there as well.)


Sources:

Chabad Melodies (Eli Lipsker and Velvel Pasternak)
International encounters with the Rebbe – Through melody (Rabbi Dr. Naftali Lowenthal, Paul de Keyser, Rabbi Shmuel Lew)
And, of course my own humble thoughts. I have intermingled salt and pepper from various other sources, but these are the main sources.
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Last edited by BLewbavitch; 04-16-2002 at 10:42 PM.
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Unread 04-18-2002, 03:49 PM   #99
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That basically sums up the idea very nicely. Well put!
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Unread 04-18-2002, 07:01 PM   #100
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2, 4, 6, 8, who do we appreciate?
goooooooooo BLew!
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