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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Niggun [from the Parsha] of the Week - UFARATZTA

(The expansion of the Kingdom of Israel in the times of David HaMelech; click to enlarge)

Ufaratzta yama va'kedma va'tzafona va'negba --
And you shall break through (spread out)
to the west and to the east,
to the north and to the south
-- Breishis, 28:14

Rashi in Parshas Vayechi [Breishis 49:26] explains that the blessings that Hashem bestowed on Yaakov exceeded and surpassed those given to his parents [Avraham and Yitzchak]. “My blessings were exceedingly great – to the far ends of the earth. I was given a blessing that broke through without bounds, reaching the four corners of the earth, as it says, ‘And you shall break through (spread out) to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south.’ Such a blessing was not given to Avraham Avinu or to Yitzchak.”

from the chabad.org website:
Living With Moshiach – by J. Immanuel Schochet

Ufaratzta (you shall break through; spread out) to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. . .” - Parshas Vayeitzei 28:14

This verse may be said to allude to the Messianic era when “the Land of Israel will extend over all the countries [of the world]” (Sifri, Devarim 1). That is, the whole world - “to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south” - will ascend to the present sanctity of the Land of Israel, and the Land of Israel itself will ascend to the present level of the higher sanctity of Jerusalem.

In practical terms, this verse teaches us that in our present days we have to serve G-d in a manner of ufaratzta - that is, without any restrictions and limitations, in the sense of “You shall love G-d ... with all your might” (Va’etchanan 6:5). Thus we shall hasten the coming of Moshiach, of whom it is said: “The poretz (the one who breaks through; i.e., the one who clears all obstacles and barriers) is gone up before them” (Micha 2:13).

The Baal Shem Tov, in a conscious ascent to the high celestial regions, visiting the mansions of the Moshiach, asked the Moshiach, “When will my master come?” to which the Moshiach replied, “In this you will know; when your teachings are published and become manifest in the world and your sources spread outward, and that which I have taught you, and which you have attained, when even they will be able to effect such unifications and such ascendances as you do.” This, then, was the mission of the Baal Shem Tov, to make the innermost wellsprings available to those on the “outside.” Like G-d’s promise to Yaakov: “Ufaratzta -- And you will burst forth westward, eastward, to the north, and to the south.” The Moshiach’s promise to the Baal Shem Tov became a rallying cry of the Chassidim.

About the niggun itself:

The niggun known as Ufaratzta * is actually a very old Chabad niggun – a joyous, lively march tune – that was brought by Lubavitch Chassidim from the town of Dubrovna, in the Minsk province of White Russia. This town had Chassidim from the time of the Alter Rebbe of Chabad, Rebbe Schneur Zalman of Liadi.
“In the year 5718 [1957-8], when the Lubavitcher Rebbe brought out the idea that the ‘spreading the sources outward’ should be in the manner of ‘ufaratzta’ [see above], he asked Nichoach, the Chabad menagnim [musical composers] to come up with a niggun for these words. Since then, the Rebbe would sing it at many of his Farbrenghens [Chassidic gatherings].”
* (Note: this link describes the niggun in Yiddish. I have tried to capture the essence of the description in English in the words above.)

A video of the Rebbe Zt”l leading this niggun can be found here; while you can hear an audio of him singing it here and here.

In the words of Chabad: “Ufaratzta -- And you shall spread forth – This Niggun represents the Rebbe’s call to reach every Jew, wherever he may be.”

Perhaps no other niggun has so typified a movement as the niggun Ufaratzta for the Chabad Chassidic movement!

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