Hoshana (Yoni Z feat. Cantor Moti Zigelboum)

October 8, 2020

🕯️ 20th of Tishrei – My Father’s Yahrtzeit – ר’ דניאל יואל בהרה’ג ר’ יעקב מניס, ז’ל

May the inspiration that we get from today’s post be a zechus for the aliyas neshoma of my father, Daniel Yoel ben HaRav Yaakov Manis, z’l.

On a more superficial level, Hoshana Rabbah is about taking action. Throughout the month of Elul and all through Yom Kippur we say to Hashem that we want to do better, that we are committed to do better, etc. We want to take what we’ve learned and what we’ve been inspired by and apply it to our daily lives. We sure do talk a good talk, don’t we?

But in fact, immediately following Yom Kippur, we begin to show Hashem that we meant what we said. We don’t just say that we are going to serve Him; we actually go outside, build sukkahs, and serve Him. We don’t just pretend to take action; we actually hold the daled minim in our hands and shake them, shaking ourselves out of a lull of inaction in the process. Throughout Sukkos, we march in circles, together with one another, unified in our commitment to serve the Almighty in a very real and tangible way. More than any other time of year, we work to transform our physical selves and surroundings into articles of significant spiritual substance.

On a personal note, my father z’l was niftar on Shabbos and was buried the following morning on Hoshana Rabbah 5779. The significance of this is too difficult to ignore on many levels, but I will mention one thought that I think helps recognize his essence. My father was not a man of many words – in fact, he was extremely careful with his words. He was a man of action. He didn’t say he was going to do it – he just did it. He didn’t talk about getting it done – he just got it done.

The Arava represents the lips and is quite appropriately shaped like lips. All year, all Elul, all Yom Kippur and all of Sukkos we say to Hashem, “we are committed to do better – this year we’re really going to do it!” And on Hoshana Rabbah, when the judgment of the year becomes finalized, we come full circle – pun intended. We take the aravos – which represent the lips and are quite appropriately shaped as such – and we show that the old adage is indeed true: Actions speak louder than words.

We show Hashem that this year, we won’t just be talking the talk – but that we intend to walk the walk as well. On Hoshana Rabbah, we symbolically and emphatically put an end to the lip service that we may have been guilty of until now, and we let our actions speak for themselves. We klapp the aravos on the ground, proving once and for all that here ends the empty promises, and so begins the service that we had intended to perform from the very beginning. Moreover, we do all this while walking on our unique path along the perimeter, each of us an equal distance from the common center. What beautiful imagery we are painting as we actively begin the year on the right foot!

So in honor of today’s powerful message, we have chosen this gorgeous song by Yoni Z called Hoshana from his highly anticipated, eponymous debut album from 2018. In it, Yoni Z (short for Zigelboum) displays the formidable and mature singing ability that has catapulted his career to international stardom. The tune was co-composed by Elie Schwab, Eli Klein and Yoni himself and is sung with the signature passion and energy that we have come to know and love from one of the industry’s brightest young talents. However, with a masterpiece such as this, Yoni felt that the song deserved an added dimension of authenticity. Therefore, joining him is his father, the established Chazzan Moti Zigelboum in a duet that brings the song to a completely new level, making it a worthy complement to the day’s holy and mystical nature.

May Hashem continue to give all of us the health and strength we need to continue our forward march in our avodas Hashem.

A gut kvittel and a gut Yom Tov to everyone – L’chaim!

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