Thursday, December 08, 2005
The Mittler Rebbe, Rebbe Dov Ber Schneuri
This Shabbos, 9 (Tes) Kislev, is both the birthday and the yahrzeit of Rebbe Dov Ber of Lubavitch, the Mittler Rebbe. Motzaei Shabbos, 10 (Yud) Kislev, is the anniversary of his release from prison.
Rebbe Dov Ber was the famous son of a very famous father – Rebbe Schneur Zalman, the founder of Chabad, and of the distinguished line of the Schneerson family of Lubavitcher Rebbes. Rebbe Dov Ber was the oldest of three sons, and he succeeded his father as the head of the Chabad Chassidim. It was he who made Lubavitch – a small town in White Russia – his residence, and it continued to be the center of Chabad for over 100 years. This is how the heads of Chabad became known as "Lubavitcher" Rebbes, and the Chassidim as "Lubavitcher" Chassidim.
In addition to his many talents, Rebbe Dov Ber inherited from his father a great love for sacred music and Chassidic melody. His father had composed ten soul-stirring melodies (niggunim), and Rebbe Dov Ber knew their powerful effect to rouse the singers and listeners to great heights of ecstasy and attachment to G-d. He encouraged the singing of these and other melodies of his own composition at certain occasions of solemn and joyous gatherings. He even had an organized choir from among his Chassidim who led in the singing.
(The above was excerpted from the Chabad website, from an article by Nissim Mindel).
From Niggun, by Tzvi Freeman:
"Song," wrote the second Rebbe of Chabad, Rebbe Dov Ber, "lies at the core of life; its source is in the most supernal ecstasy." And he explained:
"A river went out from Eden to water the garden…" (Genesis 2:10) -- from the source of all delight, the river of life flows downward, branching outward to each world and every created being. Each thing thirsts to rejoin with its source above, and from that yearning comes its song and with that song it comes alive. The heavens sing, the sun, the planets and the moon; each animal, each plant, each rock has its particular song, according to how it receives life. Until the entire cosmos pulsates with a symphony of countless angels and souls and animals and plants and even every drop of water and molecule of air singing the song that gives it life.
That is why a niggun brings a surge of new life and healing, sweetens the bitter soul and fills a home with light -- as the songs sung by David for King Saul which healed his bitter spirit.
The Mittler's Niggunim:
The Mittler Rebbe’s Kapelya – in four parts.
As mentioned above, the Mittler Rebbe had a choir which sang and played musical instruments. They were known as his “Kapelya.” This niggun was chosen amongst the many that were composed by the Kapelya. It has four parts, corresponding to the four parts of the soul that enter and purify the body of man.
Hislahavus - From the Chassidim of the Mittler Rebbe (Nie zjurite chalopzeh)
This fiery old Chabad niggun was often sung while walking or riding to visit the Rebbe in Lubavitch, or following the Niggun Arba Babos [four-stanza niggun] of the Alter Rebbe of Chabad.
The niggun expresses a powerful connection of the Chassidim to their Rebbe. The words, in the style of a Ukranian peasant song, are: “Don’t worry, young fellows, what will become of us in the end. For we’ll eventually arrive at the pub, and there we will have vodka to drink.”
The Chassidim, however, gave these words a different meaning. To them, “we will arrive at the pub,” meant that they would “arrive at Lubavitch, and there we will drink from the Torah and Chassidus of the Rebbe, and we will lack for nothing.”
A later Lubavitch Rebbe, the Rebbe Rashab, once said that this niggun demonstrates the loftiness of the Mittler Rebbe’s Chassidim.
Mike Tabor has also recorded this niggun, using Yiddish ["Vos darf mir sorgen?"] instead of Ukranian words, on his Jewish Soul recording.
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