Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Tonight [and tomorrow], the 17th of Shvat, is the yahrzeit of Rebbe Yechezkel of Kuzmir. A talmid of the Chozeh of Lublin, Rebbe Shmuel of Karov, and the Yid HaKodesh of Pshischa, Rebbe Yechezkel was one of the key figures of Polish Chassidic Jewry. Not only was he the grandfather of the Divrei Yisrael – the first Modzitzer Rebbe; but moreover, his style and approach to Chassidus and Avodas HaShem [Divine Service] became the milestones that outlined the path that would in later years be identified as that of Modzitz.
Rebbe Yechezkel of Kuzmir led his Chassidim as their Rebbe for some 40 years. He attracted important Torah scholars and tzaddikim as well as simple people. Some of the more famous people who traveled to him often included: Rebbe Shlomo HaKohen, the Tiferes Shlomo of Radomsk; Rebbe Yosef of Neishtat (“the Gutteh Yid”, whose father was the author of the famous Ma’or VaShemesh); Rebbe Nasan David of Shidlovsta (who later became Rebbe Yechezkel’s mechutan); Rebbe Yisrael Yitzchak of Radoshitz; Rebbe Menachem Mendel of Vorke and others. Among his leading talmidim were Rav Meshulam of Plotzk; HaGaon Reb Yaakov Aharon, the Av Beis Din of Alexander (author of the Beis Yaakov); Rav Chaim Eliezer Wachs (author of the Nefesh Chaya, and Rav of Kalish) and others.
Rebbe Yechezkel was famous for his chessed. The Lubliner Rebbe is quoted as saying that Rebbe Yechezkel was the “image” of Avraham Avinu. Rebbe Yechezkel was deeply and personally involved in hachnasas orchim (hosting guests), attending to their specific and personal needs.
Rebbe Yechezkel of Kuzmir was renowned as a ba’al ruach haKodesh, one who had Divine Inspiration. There are numerous stories that exemplify this, which can be found on the Modzitz website including an interesting story from this week’s Parsha, Yisro.
Rebbe Yechezkel on Negina:
Reb Chatzkel, as he was known, had a novel interpretation of the mitzvos of Prika and Te’ina, loading and unloading a fellow Jew’s animal from a heavy burden. He says that in any matter that is difficult for his fellow man, one must help. This also applies when his friend is singing a niggun, for example. When his comrade is singing weakly, or is tired, by accompanying him, he fulfills the mitzva of Prika – “unloading” the burden. And when he doesn’t remember the tune exactly and someone refreshes his memory, he performs the mitzva of Te’ina, “loading up.” That is, he loads him up so that he can continue to sing afterwards. He ends by warning that those who know how to sing should be careful in these matters.
Rebbe Yechezkel of Kuzmir said:
"I cannot sit at the Shabbos table without a new song. There is no festive Shabbos without a new song."
"One niggun can express more than a thousand words."
In the name of the Maggid [of Mezritch]: "The zemiros of Shabbos are the wings of the Shabbos seudos, to bring them up on high."
There is but one known niggun from Rebbe Yechezkel, which is sung at his yahrzeit seuda, which will take place tonight in both Bnei Brak, Israel and in Flatbush [Brooklyn], USA. It was recently “discovered” by Reb Ben Zion Shenker.
But I do note that you wrote about it, here:
Passing of a Legend,with links to Arutz 7, Yediot, and Ha'aretz's coverage.
Do you have more info on this niggun?how it was discovered?
2)Have there been any new releases from the new modzitz "machon to preserve nigunim" since the release of the second instrumental
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