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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Jewish and Goyish Music

My wife once asked Rabbi Nachman Bulman Zt"l what makes music "Jewish music." He answered immediately, as only he could: "If it has been through the crucible of Jewish experience."

That there have been many "Jewish music" artists who have used non-Jewish sources for their music has been discussed a lot lately, notably here and at this blog which starts around here, and continues throughout the month of June.

One of the comments I made in the Blog in Dm thread was "Why even the famous "Chabad" tune, "Shamil," has its origins in a Ukranian peasant folksong! [See the liner notes to Andy Statman's "The Hidden Light" for more about this]."

With that in mind, take a look at the following post at "The Mikveh" with my comment theron. I'd like to quote part of that post here:

"...the only music played over the Public Address system is Lubavitcher niggunim. Niggunim are usually wordless melodies written by Chassidic leaders as part of their Divine service...Many campers already have the popular Jewish rock artists on their shelves at home, but may not have experienced more soulful niggunim."

I'm know I'm quoting this somewhat out of context [indeed, check out the entire post there!], but I think there's an important message here - the music composed by Chassidic or other Rebbes as "part of their Divine service" or avodas Hashem, certainly can be more soulful, and should be appreciated as such.

However, as my comment at "The Mikveh" indicates, one needs to know the true origins of the tune - as sometimes what seems to be a non-Jewish source may turn out to be a Jewish one, and vice versa!

"one needs to know the true origins of the tune - as sometimes what seems to be a non-Jewish source may turn out to be a Jewish one, and vice versa!"

I respectfully disagree.

If you have a copy of Sefer Hanigunim Chabad published by "Nichoach" and printed by Kehos. Read the introduction to get the Chabad take on the subject.

In fact very few of the hundreds of Chabad niggunim were actually "composed by Chassidic or other Rebbes as "part of their Divine service" or avodas Hashem" to quote you.

I'm guessing less than ten.. TOTAL

Nice blog btw!
Hey Mikveh Man,
First of all, I was quoting from the article you brought on YOUR blog.
Secondly, I don't have Sefer HaNiggunim, but I don't mind if you want to cite the relevant words in a response to this :))
Thirdly, on the Chabad recording, "The Precise Melodies of Chabad Rebbes," the notes say, "Among hundreds and thousands of Chassidic melodies there are unique ones, which were composed by the Rebbes themselves or which the Rebbes chose and made their own. These are "precise melodies." Every detail of such a melody is exact and purposeful. Niggunim mechuvanim reveal the highest levels of the soul in which every Jew is constantly connected to G-d."
There are some 20 niggunim there, and I know that the past Lubavitcher Rebbe Zt"l composed some 10 niggunim of his own.
Over to you...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
You have incorrect information regarding the Rebbeim composing songs.

You perhaps are not concentaring on the caveat "or which the Rebbes chose and made their own"
RE: WWMN nigun - I said then that I have the tape, but it is on a set of five tapes and they are not cataloged.

These are tapes that were privately culled from farbrengen tapes, one day I will figure out how to podcst them for your listening pleasure.(bl"n)

I can try and find out from my friends who are baalie negina when I am in CH next week about our mesora for that niggun.
Dear Mikveh-editor-Towel washer:
PLEASE if you could listen to the tapes you have & find me that tune, I would be VERY grateful!!! I am quite curious, too, as to what your ba'alei negina friends say about Reb Shlomo's niggun!
I think that the Moshiach Now song that you are talking about is different than the one I am refferring to.
Let's try this again:
The origninal "WWMN" now song was first sung in the Rebbe's presence in 1980 or 81, the time that his ghildren's group, Tzivos Hashem was established and was turned into the group's official song.
The song actually begins "Am Yisroel have no fear.." and "WWMN" is the chorus.

The "WWMN" you are talking is another song altogether. This is a "camp" song that was brought to 770 years later and was never validated by the Rebbe. That song begins with the words "Ani Maamin", and takeh is a rip-off of "Mkimi".

You want to know what Chabad mevinim think of Shlomo's nigunim?
They love them. (But won't sing them at a chassidishe farbregen).
Hi Editor,
Thanks for clarifying. Both tunes were NOT original. BTW, the Lubavitcher Rebbe ZT"L also "adapted" Reb Shlomo's "Yismechu - Yiddelach Shrei", changing the "Yiddelach Shrei, Shabbos" to "Yiddelach Shrei, Ad Masai." I believe this one they DID sing at Fahrbrenghens!
So if you have a copy of him singing either of these Reb Shlomo tunes, please let me know how I can get a copy from you!
Yiddelach Shrei, Ad Masai was part of a tape by Avraham Fried, song in simchas beis hashoeiva (togeteher with "am isroel...wwmn" at the tune of "mekimi mekimi... meafar dal") - but not at the farbrengens
I remember a circle of dancer in simchas beis hashoeiva in Crown Heights were they started mekimi but ended we want Moshiach... to me that's when it started to be songed this way
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