Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Kad Yasvin composed by the Chazon Ish?

One of the most beautiful and haunting Jewish melodies is Kad Yasvin Yisroel. I recall this song from the David Werdyger album pictured above. The jacket claims that the song was composed by the Chazon Ish, and the words are from the Zohar, yet both claims seem to be incorrect. Also making that claim is the following website:

There is a beautiful phrase recorded in the Zohar about the
greatness of Torah learning. When the Chazon Ish (Rabbi Avrohom Yeshayah
Karelitz zt'l) read the words, he went into a secluded room and composed
a song out of it: "Kad yasvin Yisroel v'askin b'simchas haTorah Kudsha
Brich Hu omer l'famalya dilay: chazu chazu banay chaveevay d'mishatkchin
b'tzarah dilan v'askin b'chedvasah dili- When Klal Yisroel are sitting
and engaging in Torah study, the Holy One, blessed is He, says to his
heavenly army: 'See! See! My beloved children who forget about their
personal problems and engage in My delight'."

In October of last year, Gruntig posted the song along with the following...

Thursday, October 07, 2010
Oldie of the Week ~ Kad Yasvin - 1969

The ninth song in this series features the song "Kad Yasvin" from the album "Cantor David Werdyger sings Melodies of Camp Kol-Ree-Nah" accompanied by the orchestra and the camp choir. Musical director, Yaakov Goldstein. The album was released in 1969.

Soloists are, Mordechi Werdyger AKA MBD (pictured left, early 1970's), his brother child soloist Mendy Werdyger and their father David Werdyger, Tzum Langer Yuhren.

Popular belief is that these words are from the Zohar and the Tune is from the Chazon Ish.

In the words written on the album cover:

"Words of the Zohar Hakodosh set to the music by the sainted Chazon Ish, who fittingly portrayed its deep meaning."

However I've heard that many have failed to find these exact words written in the Zohar. Some are adamant that it is in the Zohar, perhaps in the Hahsmatos, while others says only its concept is form the Zohar (זהר במדבר דף קיח ע"א).

Also regarding the composition of the song, some say that it actually was not composed by the Chazon Ish himself but rather by someone else and the Chazon Ish liked it very much so it became known as his song. Similar to some Negunim of Rebbes.

They sang this song at the Lubavitcher Rebbe's Farbrengen in Tishrei, (i think Simchas Torah) 5722 (1961) and i heard from someone who was there that the Rebbe was very serious and Fardveikut.

כד יתבון ישראל ועוסקין בשמחת התורה
קודשא ברוך הוא אומר לפמליא דיליה
חזו בני חביבי
דמשתכחין בצערא דילהון ועוסקין בחדותא דילי
[Zohar Hakodosh (see above)]

English Translation:
When the Jewish people immerse themselves in the joy of stydying Torah , the the Holy One Blessed is He, Says to all His heavenly hosts: Look! look at at my beloved children as they forget their own sufferings and immerse themselvs in my loving Torah.

This past week, Mishpacha magazine published the following:

Lyrics and Legends

Kad Yasvin

1980. The lecture hall was filled to capacity, as a varied group of scholars gathered for the Jerusalem Yarchei Kallah. An esteemed rosh yeshivah from Yerushalayim took his place at the speaker’s podium and introduced his topic — the analysis of an ancient song, sung by Jews across the globe, whose source is hazy: “Kad Yasvin Yisrael.”

The stirring song is sung at several occasions on the Jewish calendar, most prominently on Shavuos and Simchas Torah. It’s famous not only because of its potent lyrics, but also because of its emotive melody. But its history is filled with question marks. Who composed its famed lyrics and melody? When was it first shared with the public?

During that Yarchei Kallah conference three decades ago, the rosh yeshivah quoted the words of this exceptional niggun. At the end of his speech, he challenged his audience to uncover the roots of this song. “Whoever manages to do so, I’ll address with the title of ‘Mori v’Rabi,’” he added.

Sitting in the audience was Jerusalemite researcher Yisrael Gellis, who resolved to accept the challenge. Following five years of research, Gellis finally unearthed an ancient machzor called “Machzor Vilna HaRishon — The First Vilna Machzor.” Beneath the text of hakafos for Simchas Torah, he discovered the words of this famous song: “Kad yasvin Yisrael — When Yisrael engages in the joy of the Torah, HaKadosh Baruch Hu tells His heavenly court, ‘Look and see My dear children who forget their tribulations and engage in my beloved [Torah].’” The inscription was followed by a comment that the lyrics had been created by none other than the Vilna Gaon. According to the notes in the machzor, the Vilna Gaon sang these words each and every year during the third hakafah on Simchas Torah.

Throughout the course of his research, Gellis also encountered a Yerushalmi talmid chacham named Rav Kalman Landau, a rosh yeshivah in Tchebin, who had heard the same song sung by the Chazon Ish ztz”l. The Chazon Ish recalled this song from his small hometown of Karelitz, located between Vilna and Eishyshok on the border of Belarus and Lithuania.

It has been reported that Kad Yasvin was a favorite of Rav Yitzchak Hutner. Also, according to Lubavitch sources, it seems like the Chabad Rebbe also enjoyed this Nigun. Lubavitch

שיחות קודש תשכ"ב - מנחם מנדל שניאורסאהן

בם״ד. כ״ט תשרי היתשכ״ב. צאתכם לשלום להאורחים שהגיעו מארץ ישראל.
הנחה פרסית בלתי מוגה
(ניגנו אידה ניגון ואח״כ אמר כ״ק אדמו״ר שלים״א: דא איז דא לידר מסתמא,
גערעדט וועגו א נייעם ניגוו, האסם עפעס אויסגעלעדגט דא? נו, איז קלייב צו־זאמען
די תלמידים און זינגס מיט אלעמען פון זיי. וניגן את הניגון "כד יתבון" עם כל הקהל,
וכשסיימו אמר כ״ק אדמו״ר שליט״א: ...וועסטו זאגן דעם הושיעה איצטער. וניגן עם כל
הקהל ניגון "הושיעה את עמר״).

בס״ד. שיחת יום ב׳ פ׳ נח, כ״ט תשרי, ה׳תשכ״ב.
— התוועדות ״צאתכם לשלום״ להאורחים שיחיו —
בלתי מוגה
[כ״ק אדמו״ר שליט״א צוה לא׳ האורחים שלימד ניגון חדש, לחזור
ולנגנו, וניגן את הניגון ״כד יתבון ישראל כו׳״. ואח״כ צוה כ״ק אדמו״ר
שליט״א שינגן הניגון ״הושיעה את עמך״].

Perhaps Mississippi Fred can dig up the above mentioned Machzor.

You can listen to the song on the Gruntig link above or it can be found along with 58 other Aderet compositions at Florida Atlantic University Music.

Update: 5/27/2013

I have been noticing a lot of traffic to this post lately.  If you arrived here via some link that I am unaware about, please note it in the comments section. Thank you.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

CholHamoed CommonSense: Canoeing, Camping.

When I began writing this blog two years ago, I wasn't sure which direction the blog would take me. This is somewhat reminiscent of a book I read when I was a child titled "Little Bunny Follows His Nose". Sometimes you just need to follow your instincts wherever they may lead.

Many posts have focused on how technology has changed the Jewish world - for better or worse.

Another topic that frequently arises is the huge gap in generations...particularly this one and the one that preceded it. It is mind boggling to me how some of today's children never saw a phone with a cord, never saw a vinyl record, never had their hat get ruined in the Shabbos rain, never had to call a librarian for information - and never experienced a quiet walk in the woods without a connection to the outside world.

What pains me even more, and what prompted this post, was the new downloadable pdf's that announce all the available Chol HaMoed trips. Hershey Park, Dorney Park, concerts, trips to Florida, Canada, Eretz Yisroel...the list is endless.

Whatever happened to some good old fashioned fun? What is wrong with a father taking his sons to play baseball in the park? What about mothers taking their daughters rowing?. What is wrong with a family picnic in the park, or better yet camping and building a makeshift Sukkah?

I often wonder whether our generation had it better than the current one. I suppose our parents felt the same way. Their parents kashered chickens and lived in tenements without washing machines...their parents lived without television...their parents lived without horseless carriages etc. etc.

What is all boils down to is that everyone loves his own environment the best. People often prefer to live where they spent their childhood. Those who grew up without potato peelers prefer the knife, and those who grew up prior to the i-revolution prefer those old 33's, 45's and even 78's!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Jobs, Jibs, Jabs, Jubs

Jobs: Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Inc.; tasks.
Jibs: refuse to comply.
Jabs: pokes.
Jubs: vessels.

A world pioneer in the computer revolution passed away prior to Yom Kippur. Another notable news story from the Aseres Yemei Teshuva is that the New York Yankees lost their playoff series.

Although I am not a Navi nor the son of one, one can speculate that the juxtaposition of these events to the AYT is one of divine intent.

The common denominator being that the Yankees are a billion dollar enterprise, yet all the money in the world does not automatically create a winner. Steve Jobs may have been one of the richest self-made men in the world; but all his money could not thwart the pancreatic disease that was visited upon him.

Steve Jobs (jobs) was an amazing entrepeneur. He built many companies (jobs), filed many patents and made the world a better place for many. We can learn perseverance (jabs) from him, as he was fired from the very company he created. Yet he went on to found other companies and eventually returned to Apple Inc. to lead the iRevolution. He refused to concede (jibs) when others saw defeat, instead creating vessels (jubs) to contain the world's apps and songs.

Although the Yankees pale in comparison, they still do offer a modicum of entertainment and keep many a youngster busy and out of trouble while they are in session. They also don't wither after being beaten, as they will be back again in the spring.

The lesson of Yom Kippur is that we seek Teshuva, we try our hardest, and in the event we fail, for most of us, there will always be next year.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

TeXTing Targets Tardy Transports

As with all new technology, there are pros and cons.

Whereas teenagers have flocked to the powers of SMS from the outset, it seems that their parents are now catching up and implementing the power of texting.

Often I wonder if I could have survived Yeshiva had the cell phone been invented in my day. I don't see how it is possible to properly learn while being attached to a leash.

Amar Abaye...PLS PU SHTS FRM CLNRS. TX XXX...Yiush Shelo Midas...SHIUR TONITE 9PM...Yaal Kigam...WASSUP. LNCH @ MENDY?...

Yet slowly we are all forced into the technology rat race. Who can survive today without a mobile phone? A decade ago they were only for the rich and famous.

So I was quite amused yesterday to see two news stories. The first announced that BMG has institued a new policy that for the new Zman, Bachurim will not be allowed to have internet or Texting capacity on their phones. The second story announced that several Mosdos in Boro Park have enabled parents to be notified via TXT MSG that their children's bus is X minutes away, or X stops away.

Imaginge not having to wait 30 minutes in the cold weather if the bus is late. You can now know exactly when it will arrive. You can know if it is stuck somewhere via the GPS signal.

So technology is a mixed blessing. As much as we are against the internet, we are for it. All I can say is that I am glad that I am not a teenager anymore.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Klal "Kindles" Kosher Kaleidoscope

I am gratified to see another new Kosher journal. Klal Perspectives has been launched via electronic media.

I believe this is a first in several regards.

First Orthodox journal that is entirely electronic. First kosher journal that is entirely focused on how to envision and preempt the challenges of the future. First to join a broad range of writer's perspectives to fulfill this endeavor.

Many current journals focus on how to follow Halacha in today's modern era. Klal serves more as a "think tank" in identifying the current issues and finding solutions for the future.

It is a pleasure to read the articles, as all the writer's are tops in their fields. Additionally, they are all writer's of eloquence.

Rabbi Zwiebel shares a profound thought of Rabbi Chaim Kohn regarding "Roeh Es HaNolad". Rabbi Bane points out an interesting insight regarding how the "father" job has been replaced by the Yeshiva Rebbe. Rabbi Adlerstein laments the "stifled individual creative thinking" that has become part and parcel of our Yeshiva system. Rabbi Hauer points our how principals used to beg for children to come to Yeshiva, whereas now you need to beg them. Rabbi Y. Rosenblum is concerned with role-reversal, in that the father used to be responsible for Parnassah, not the mother. He is also concerned with fitting all boys into the same mold.

Tuition, paying for Mehadrin Mitzvos, Setting Takanos to save the Klall money, how the internet has bettered and worsened our lives, Kosher LePesach Cheerios, book bannings and child abuse. It is all in the premier issue of Klal.

Available here.

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