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Friday, November 04, 2005


The type of Shpodik worn by the Rebbes of the Rizhin dynasty

This Shabbos, Parshas Noach, is also Gimel [the 3rd of] Cheshvan, the yahrzeit of Rebbe Yisrael of Rizhin, the "Heiliger [Holy] Rizhiner." The Rizhiner said about music: "Just as a mikveh purifies, so too does a niggun purify."
[Thanks to A Simple Jew for this!]

The Rizhiner was a great-grandson of the Maggid of Mezritch, who succeeded the Baal Shem Tov as the leader of the Chassidic movement. He brought Malchus, royalty, back to Am Yisrael. His Shul was very ornate - like a palace - and he had a special choir and orchestra that sang and played niggunim.

A few words from Reb Shlomo Carlebach about the Rizhiner:
"Approximately one hundred and fifty tears ago, absolutely one of the greatest, absolutely most, not earth-shaking but soul-shaking holy masters in our tradition passed away - the Holy Rizhiner. I want you to know something unbelievable. King David, how should his crown [not] move down [onto] his nose? But the answer is - he had a little bone sticking out, a tiny little bone which held up the crown. And since the destruction of the Temple, even all those people who are descendants of King David didn’t have this bone. And for the first time, in those eighteen hundred years since the destruction of the Temple, suddenly Rebbe Yisrael Rizhiner had the little bone. Mamesh he was absolutely a descendant of King David. And you know, with his yarmulke, he always had the yarmulke down to his eyes because he didn’t want anyone to see it."

"But anyway, until the Holy Rizhiner came around, it was like all the Holy Masters were always shleppers and poor people. But this is not what kingdom is all about. He really wanted to re-establish the Kingdom of King David. And you know, he built a palace in Rizhin, and it was so beautiful that the King of Italy wanted to build a palace, and he sent secretly an engineer to copy the palace of the Holy Rizhiner. And it was mamash awesome, awesome, awesome."
We don't have too many niggunim from the Rizhiner. Reb Shlomo Carlebach always introduced this niggun as the Rizhiner's, although most Chassidim say it's from the Baal Shem Tov. Perhaps Reb Shlomo heard it from Rizhiner Chassidim, who perhaps "inherited" it from the Baal Shem. On the second Chassidei Sadigora recording, "Racheim B'Chasdecha," there is a niggun dveykus which they attribute to Rebbe Yisrael of Rizhin.

For more on the Rizhiner, see the Nishmas Chayim website.

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