JMN wishes a tremendous Mazal Tov to our subscriber David A. and a hearty Happy 50th Birthday!
After the five posts that I somehow had the chutzpah to send you last week, I’m sure all of you were looking forward to a quiet week from JMN so you could finally get some work done around here. Even if you weren’t – I was! And after pulling a couple of all-nighters already this week, I thought we were all going to get our wish. So then why, after getting three sentences in, is it starting to look as if I will not be leaving you alone this evening?
Well, the truth is, I wanted to. I really did. But then I had a moment to think and, as does normally occur to my poor brain, I began to feel inspiration developing in the form of a song. I said to myself, “self, you may be too tired to translate your mood into a melody as you normally have the ability to do on a daily basis. But, are you telling me that you don’t at least have a niggun in your heart – somewhere deep within – that you can extract and explain on that typity type thing that you do every week? Come on! You of all people?”
And, you want to know something? That semi-aggressive, slightly obnoxious inner-voice of mine was right. After all the sleepless nights and 17 hour workdays, I do have at least something to leave you with today. I would love to hear what your go-to (wordless) niggun is and when it is you find yourself singing it, but as far as today goes, the Nigun Lev by Beri Weber was just what the doctor prescribed. This niggun, composed by The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rav Menachem Mendel Schneersohn zt’l – The Tzemach Tzedek – and sung by Weber in the spirit of the holy city of Tzfas, was released on Weber’s 2014 mega-hit album called Ben Melech and is sure to warm and invigorate the hearts of those who listen and sing along. It certainly worked for me….
I originally had found it hard to connect to this song and I thought maybe it had too much flavor of the shtetl for others to connect to especially without words. But friends convinced me to get it out there.
Actually, there’s a backstory for this one: I was in Eretz Yisroel driving back to my hotel in Yerushalayim when my rental car broke down. I found myself at the side of the road waiting for a hitch. My friend was singing back-up to a badchan at someone’s mitzvah tantz and I soon found a hitch to that wedding hall where I could wait for my friend to finish up and go home with him. I heard the badchan sing this niggun and I liked it. It was obviously an old chassidish niggun but we erroneously assumed it belonged to the same chassidus as the badchan. Right before we went to print the covers for Ben Melech I was informed that the song was a Chabad niggun attributed to the Tzemach Tzedek but traditionally sung with a much slower tempo. Whenever I go to a Chabad event they thank me for bringing the Rebbe’s niggun back to life.