Min Hameitzar (MBD & Yeedle)

April 1, 2022

Shabbos. The day on which the Jewish people leave the straits of distress and enter a spiritual realm that is not bound by physical or temporal constraints. Shabbos is just a small piece of our infinite inheritance – as we reference in Ma Yedidus – our Nachalah Bli Metzarim. It is a day that is me’ein Olam Haba, and we are promised that when we delight in its holiness, then the narrowness and darkness of the chevlei Moshiach will be met with light and expansion – yutzalu lirvacha.

This Shabbos coincides with Rosh Chodesh, and we will recite Hallel to praise and thank Hashem – for the past, present and the future – for redeeming us and sustaining us with His abundant kindness. Kapittal 118, for example, speaks prophetically of the Redemption, and describes the praise and thanks that will be sung then by the ingathered exiles. It describes our trust in Hashem, and our firm belief in His salvation regardless of the situation.

Within this paragraph – among phrases of freedom, joy and gratitude – we find expressions of pain and anguish, and it is one specific sentence that we will explore.

מן המצר קראתי קה ענני במרחב קה

“I called out to Hashem for help from the constricted space” – the tight situation of golus that we find ourselves in right now. But Dovid HaMelech tells us that in the end, “Hashem answered our cries and placed us into the wide, open, and peaceful expanse of the Divine Presence.”

No matter how much we try to avoid it, the walls of serenity are closing in, and the all-encompassing meitzar is slowly tightening its grip on our sanity. In times of distress such as these, the Jewish Nation quite literally calls out to Hashem “Min Hameitzar” – from our places of pain and fear of the unknown.

But on this Shabbos Rosh Chodesh, as we call out from our confined spaces, let us try to focus on these particular tefillos. Let’s all pray that we will soon emerge min hameitzar – from constricted spaces of darkness and hopelessness, from our own personal Mitzrayim – and will finally experience the light and expansiveness of the Geulah Sheleimah, amein!

Min Hameitzar was composed and originally performed by Mordechai Ben David. It was recorded on October 12, 1980 at a performance in Brooklyn College’s famous Walt Whitman Theatre. It was then released in less-than-superb quality on the Mordechai Ben David LIVE record in 1981. It was thankfully revisited and revitalized by his son Yeedle, on the latter’s 2008 vanguard production entitled Lev Echad, on which both father and son sing this soulful song in unison.

Wishing you a spacious Shabbos Rosh Chodesh, Parshas HaChodesh!

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