Chaverim Kol Yisrael (Journeys)

March 25, 2022

JMN extends a hearty Mazal Tov to long-time subscriber and friend Chaim Zvi H. upon his recent engagement, and to my brother and sister-in-law on the recent birth and bris of their son, דניאל יואל!

As you could imagine, there was much debate when deciding whether or not to post anything this entire week. If I’m being honest, this specific struggle actually began about a month ago, as news of our fellow Yidden being forced to flee for their lives and fight for their very survival reached the headlines. It was at that time that I heard the soundtrack that plays in the background of my mind switch entirely to songs of yearning and pleading – praying that Hashem gathers in our dispersed and puts an end to our suffering once and for all…

Mishenichnas Adar marbim b’simcha. Putin was replaced by Purim, and at least for a day, happiness ruled. The deepest day of the year – a day on which one can attain levels of understanding and spiritual closeness to the Ribono Shel Olam was upon us, and but for a day, there existed a tiny glimmer of hope. Maybe, just maybe, things would start to calm down a bit so we could get back to normal – whatever “normal” is. The playlist in my head seemed to think so too…

While the sights and sounds of Purim spread, thoughts of a present-day Purim story started to pervade our minds. Dreams of miraculous events began to unfold in our imaginations until the reality of redemption became more than just a far-off possibility, but an imminent inevitability. Here in Yerushalayim, all the lively Purim seudahs were singing their last songs, as Eretz Yisroel began preparing for the arrival of the Shabbos Queen – Klal Yisroel’s weekly privilege, an intimate audience with the Shechinah. A figurative neat bow was being put on what was an emotionally draining, yet spiritually-charged few weeks…

But then came the news.

It was as if the bubble of light and laughter that we had worked so hard to create, quite suddenly burst, leaving us utterly exposed, sending a harsh, cold shudder to the cores of our beings. Whatever hopes we had were lost. Whatever dreams we dreamt were gone. For a long and painful instant, it was as though the world stopped spinning and time stood still. Tears were shed, garments were torn, our nation began to mourn…

It was during the next 36 hours that my internal orchestra stopped playing completely. I mean absolute silence, which, for me, is a very rare occurrence. This solemn silence would last until I would arrive in the heart of Bnei Brak, where I found myself surrounded by hundreds of thousands of our fellow broken-hearted. Everywhere I looked, I saw kippahs of all kinds supporting each other, providing for one another, bonding with one another, standing side by side – collectively sharing and shouldering a heavy national burden…

This Shabbos we are mevarech Chodesh Nissan. It is the month that we were redeemed from Mitzrayim, and Chazal tell us that it is destined to be the month in which we will once again be redeemed. Before announcing the new upcoming Rosh Chodesh, we recite the following incredible tefillah:

מִי שֶׁעָשָׂה נִסִּים לַאֲבותֵינוּ וְגָאַל אותָם מֵעַבְדוּת לְחֵרוּת הוּא יִגְאַל אותָנוּ בְּקָרוב וִיקַבֵּץ נִדָּחֵינוּ מֵאַרְבַּע כַּנְפות הָאָרֶץ – חֲבֵרִים כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל

He Who has performed miracles for our forefathers, and redeemed them from slavery to freedom – may He redeem us soon and gather in our dispersed from the four corners of the earth; then Yisroel will be friends.

We find ourselves within the stage of “Someich Geulah l’Geulah.” We have gone from the Yom Tov of Purim – the Yom Tov of giving freely to one another, exchanging gifts and distributing funds to the poor and to “kol haposhet yad nosnim lo.” Now, as we are about to announce the arrival of Chodesh Nissan – the month of Pesach, the month of “kol dichfin yeitzei v’yeichal, kol ditzrich yeitzei v’yifsach” – by doing so we are in fact proclaiming our readiness for the Geulah Shelaimah.

Now, ever so slowly, the music has begun to return…

Because while “chaverim kol Yisroel” comes at the end of the above paragraph – as well as the end of the Purim and Pesach narratives – I can’t help but think that the real, genuine achdus that we exhibited was actually the primary prerequisite of these respective redemptions. It was during these times that we achieved a level of closeness to one another that actually engendered significant salvation, and it is this togetherness that remains the key component of the upcoming ultimate yeshuah – the coming of Moshiach tzidkeinu, b’meheirah b’yameinu, amen!

Chaverim Kol Yisrael is the first track on the brand new Journeys Vol. 5, and is sung by the dynamic and delightful Benny Friedman. The lyrics were written by the incomparable Abie Rotenberg and the tune is an adaptation of a well-known Bobover march composed by the well-known baal tefillah Harav Tzvi Hersh Pinter, zt’l. The original niggun is often sung by the chassidim to Kel Adon on Shabbos or Yom Tov, and to Imru Leilokim on the Yomim Nora’im by the famed Bobover Choir. Expertly arranged by Jewish music’s Ace of Hartz, Doni Gross, the song really speaks for itself. I’ve included the music video that was released soon after the album came out as well – I hope that you will enjoy.

Wishing all of you a purifying Shabbos Mevorchim Chodesh Nissan, Parshas Parah!

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1 Comment

  1. Stephanie Zaft

    so beautiful. Brings tear to my eyes.


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