Thursday, August 04, 2005
What? It's only Tammuz, and Rosh Hashana is several months away. Let's see, there's Tammuz, Av, Elul, and only then does Tishrei - the month of the Jewish New Year - follow! So what are we talking about?
Okay, the Modzitzer Rebbe Shlita has reminded us that the sefarim - our holy books - teach that the Hebrew letters of Tammuz are an acronym for "Zman Teshuva m'Mashmesh Uba - the time for return [to G-d and His Torah] is rapidly approaching." Indeed we are in the midst of the "Three-Week" period of mourning for our Holy Temple, the Beis HaMikdash, which culminates in the Fast of Tisha b'Av. This itself is a time for teshuva, for returning to G-d. This is immediately followed by the "Shiva d'Nechemta - the Seven Weeks of Consolation," which lead us directly into...you guessed it, Rosh Hashana. So the period from 17 Tammuz until Rosh Hashana is really one continuum.
What does all of this have to do with Negina? you might ask. Firstly, I'd like to add "my own" version of the acronym for Tammuz - "Zemira-Mangina-Tefilla [or Tenua]-U'Shira" - meaning, "Tune, Melody, Prayer [or Movement] and Song." Why is this so?
The Tzaddikim of Modzitz have a custom of greeting the New Year - Rosh Hashana - with a new SET of melodies, or niggunim. Thus the Rebbes of Modzitz in recent years have composed new niggunim for several parts of the High Holyday services, which are sung. I'll give two brief examples of this, and then we'll continue in the next post.
Already on Selichos night, the first day in which the penintential prayers of Selichos are recited [towards the end of the month of Elul, according to the Ashkenazi custom], the Modzitzer Rebbe Shlita introduces TWO new niggunim for the upcoming year. S'lach Na - is a short request that Hashem should forgive us, and the Rebbe Shlita usually composes a very soulful tune, usually in 3/4 time, for this prayer. The Selichos are ended with a Kaddish-Tiskabeil, for which the Rebbe composes a lively dance tune. The joy in this tune expresses the surety that our prayers will be accepted by the One Above. He sings it throughout the Yamim Noraim at the end of each prayer service.
So - if these niggunim are "unveiled" on Selichos night, and then some more on Rosh Hashana, and still more on Yom Kippur - when are they composed? Last year the Rebbe revealed 17 new niggunim!!! Obviously, they are being composed right now, during the months of Tammuz, Av and Elul!