Hinei Kel (Shalsheles)

May 4, 2021

A gutten erev Shabbos to every one of you out there. The thoughts that have been swirling around my head – and the innumerable melodies that have accompanied those thoughts – are too many to put into writing. Any idea that I may have had has likely already been expressed elsewhere and have reached you through the various available mediums…

Though still a bit numb, I wanted to share a vort with you from Harav Elimelech Biderman, Shlita that I have turned to during some very difficult moments in my life. He said that it is human nature to question the past and to wonder about what might happen in the future. When one asks about the past, he asks, למה – why? Why did such a thing occur? Why did it happen to such a good person? The numerical value of the word למה is 75. And when one inquires of the future, he asks מה יהיה – what will be? What does the future hold? What lies in store for me and for the people that I love? The numerical value of מה יהיה is also 75.

Rav Biderman continued, do you know what else equals 75? בטחון! Bitachon is the answer to both questions, past and future – למה and מה יהיה. What was and what will be comes from our Father in Heaven, and our perfect faith in Him will always ensure our ultimate comfort.

From what I myself have heard and seen, despite the disturbing accounts and unspeakable imagery of what took place in Meron still surfacing left and right, Am Yisroel’s overwhelming response continues to be one of immense strength and emotional fortitude. Despite the devastating darkness, Klal Yisroel has once again shown its true colors, waving its strong, yet weathered flag made of pure, beautiful Bitachon. Instead of asking ‘why,’ we reacted by digging deep and by using every ounce of Emunah P’shuta that we possess – Emunah we don’t know we have until we encounter moments such as these.

On Lag Ba’omer, and throughout this horrific ordeal, what became abundantly clear is that when a Yid is confronted with adversity, his visceral reaction is to reinforce his Bitachon in the Borei Olam – to tighten the grip he has on the loving, outstretched Hand of Hashem.

הנה קל ישועתי אבטח ולא אפחד – Behold, Hashem is my salvation; I will trust and not fear… The words of Yeshaya Hanavi might be more relevant now than they have ever been – indeed they have certainly taken on entirely new meaning this past week. But the Navi is telling us that in the days ahead, there will be unending blessings and yeshuos – as bountiful as a spring from which fresh, bubbling water constantly flows.

At the end of every Shabbos, as we begin Havdalah and prepare ourselves for yet another week of unknown, we do so by symbolically overflowing our cups with the sweet blessing we hope and pray will fill our lives. With the words that we say each Motzei Shabbos, we confirm our belief in this Divine blessing, while at the same time acknowledging our firm trust in its Source.

This will probably not be the last time that I laud and applaud the entire Kumzitz in the Rain series. Expertly produced, arranged and mixed by the industry’s Ace of Hartz, Doni Gross – a name synonymous with high quality, warm, and uplifting Jewish music; every album he makes is another testament to his commitment to excellence. Doni’s ability to accurately capture and express the essence of a song is what puts him in a class of his own. His 2020 release of A Kumzitz in the Rain, Vol. 5 – Junior features the beautiful compositions of the talented Yitzchok Rosenthal – creator and man-behind-the-music of the group called Shalsheles.

Today’s song, Henei Kel, was originally released on the 2013 Shalsheles album called “Connections” and is sung in today’s a cappella version by the remarkable Rivie Schwebel and his son Avrumi (that would be Eli’s younger brother, for those of you doing the Schwebel family math). Formerly a member of “Shalsheles Jr.,” Avrumi has been quietly making a name for himself in the Schwebel legacy of musical talent ever since.

As if telling us that we had made the right choice, here is some of the letter found on the Kumzitz in the Rain #5 insert:
“To Our Dear Listeners,
We are living in scary times…We don’t know what tomorrow will bring… That is why I feel it’s very appropriate to showcase some of the classic songs of Shalsheles, as most of which are based on the words of Dovid Hamelech. Dovid, as we know, had many hardships in his life. But even at the darkest of times, when most were unable to see any light, Dovid was able to connect himself to Hashem, to seek light and seek comfort. He showed us that no matter how dark things may look, we can, and need to hold onto Hashem, as He is the ONLY source of salvation! – Doni”

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