Tag Archive: Jewish Music
There used to be a time in which simply hearing about or seeing an advertisment for a Jewish Music Concert was an exciting event! These concerts didn’t just happen ever second… Zoom forward some good two or three decades and you’ll find a plethora of concerts advertised all over the country! There are now Jewish Music Stars performing not just in The Catskills but also on Cruises, Harbor Boats, at Six Flags and at other “out of the box venues.” And so, it’s only fitting that we begin to see a need to better promote these concerts. Hence, it’s interesting to have seen that the latest Ohel Concert, which has featured singers such as MBD, Ohad, and Avraham Fried, decided to do a spin-off of the popular Geico Ads. I must admit, I do not live in America, and haven’t had a chance to see these effective spots. That said, I’d still assume that there had to be a certain percentage of the mostly Orthodox crowd that had seen these Geico spots, and would get a “kick out of it” by seeing Ohel spoof the Geico set of commercials…
THE ORIGINAL GEICO COMMERCIAL
THE OHEL CONCERT VERSION
- While there are different minhagim regarding listening to music during the Sefirat HaOmer period that we find ourselves in, I found it both interesting and courageous nevertheless of Srully Williger to market his orchestra by saying that we could satisfy your needs…even in the recession. See his site or the picture to your right.
- I grew up sharing a room with my two brothers. As such, while this “room divider” may appear chic, the fact of the matter is that we set this trend a long time ago!
- On a totally different note, Bnos Chana Seminary was kind enough to post on their website this image of the wedding picture of HaRav and Rebbetzin Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg shlita. Talk about seeing a special Gedolim picture!
- Once Sacred Now Their Showcase
While we have been cleaning for Pesach for about several weeks now, these past couple of days, there’s been one artist that has arguably gotten a lot of “air time” in our house as of late: Eitan Katz. Not only am I priviliged to call him both a friend and former classmate, but his niggunim reflect a certain tone of kedusha that permeats from the simplicity of the music. As such, I wanted to share with you his Dvar Torah Email that he sent out. If you are in the mood for some great Jewish music to listen to while cleaning for Passover, I’d recommend that you download any of his albums. You will feel relaxed and spiritually uplifted as you scrub, clean, and prepare for Pesach!
As Pesach is approaching, I wanted to share with you a beautiful idea which connects Yetzias Mitzrayim to the power of music. In Likutey Torah on Pesach, the Ba’al Hatanya writes that the Yetzias Mitzrayim which took place thousands of years ago still takes place every day within the heart of every Jew. Mitzrayim comes from the word Meitzar, narrow, rigid, boundaries. When Klal Yisroel left Mitzrayim they did not only leave the physical boundaries of the land of Egypt but also broke through the mental and spiritual boundaries which Mitzrayim so tightly kept around them.
Every day, The Ba’al Hatanya writes, a Jew has the power to leave his own boundaries. I know for myself, and for sure many people can relate to this, that in this crazy world, we feel like we are in our own spiritual jail, not being able to serve Hashem the way we want to. Pesach is a reminder for us that just like there was a Yetzias Mitzrayim a long time ago, the same Yetzias Mitzrayim- the leap out of one’s boundaries, can be done today. And here is where the connection to music comes. The Ba’al Hatanya writes that because the first Yetzias Mitzrayim was eternal, we can look at the way they had acted then during the process of leaving, and apply it to our life right now.
The first act which Klal Yisroel did as a “free” nation was……SING!!! After they crossed the sea, looked back and saw that the nightmare was over and that Hashem had taken them out completely form mitzrayim, they sang Shiras Hayam. This wasn’t a coincidence, the Ba’al Hatanya writes. The natural expression of someone that has just reached beyond their natural boundaries is singing.
Because when one sings, that is also an expression of leaving one’s boundaries. How many times have we sat around the shabbos table, or at an uplifting concert or kumzitz, where we felt that singing just takes us to places where we never have been before. When we sing emmesdik nigunim, the feeling should be that we are reaching beyond the places where we thought we couldn’t reach. This, my friends, is the way how to tell if a nigun is “kosher” or not. Not by how many instruments is being played, not by the arrangements, not by any of the superficial garbage we have come in contact with. The only way to identify a kosher nigun is if it makes you feel bigger and greater than what you felt before.
With this Torah, I released my latest album last month. I felt that each of the nigunim (whether mine or not) had the ability in them to bring the listener to a deeper and more meaningful connection to Hashem. I felt that the nigunim would allow a person to see how deep their neshama really is. And I tell everyone who buys the CD that this is what I felt, but if you don’t feel that way about the nigunim, if you feel they are just commercial and not uplifting, please do me favor- don’t listen to them!
If you haven’t purchased the CD yet, you can listen to clips and purchase it here.
I wish everyone a Chag Kasher V’sameach!
Some children grow up memorizing tunes from Barney, SpongeBob, and so on and so forth. Others memorize the tunes of Professor Green and The Simcha Machine (a personal favorite because we share last names!) and The Amazing Torah Bike (which frankly I still think brings to life the story of the Exodus).
That said, in my formative years, I never heard of the great Blues musician (and oft-pardoned convict) Huddie Ledbetter, popularly known as Lead Belly,” nor did I think I knew any of his tunes.“
I was wrong.
Ever since I can remember, my favorite holiday growing up was Purim. The festive atmosphere, the exchange of treats and gifts, topped off by the final mitzvah of the day, the Purim Seudah, is what makes this a day that every child continues to mark off on his or her mental calendar and looks forward to each year.
While I have spent Purim in many locations throughout the world, and while the people and the atmosphere may differ from year to year, the songs never seem to change. To that end, year after year I must sing countless times the catchy tune of: M’She, M’She M’Shenechnas Adar, Marbim, Marbim, Marbim B’Simchah. That said, only several years ago was it brought to my attention that the person who brought this niggun down to us was not The Amshinover or another such Chassidic Master?
Who was the bal m’nagen, the composer of this song, that is sang in all the yeshivas, from Merkaz HaRav to The Mirrer…?
The answer may surprise you!
It is none other then a musician known to the world as, “Lead Belly.” Enjoy watching him in action below!