🕯 R’ Ben Zion Shenker z’l – 19th of Cheshvan

October 24, 2021

To master the art of musical composition requires innate skills. To translate one’s emotion musically, to create beautifully expressive music, one must truly have lyrical genius. But to develop a majestic melody that radiates with sparkling finesse and that complements the accompanying lyrics, requires the insight and talents of an almost Davidic nature…

Tonight, the 19th of Cheshvan, will mark the 5th yahrtzeit of Rabbi Ben Zion Shenker, z’l. Aside from being a pioneer in the world of Jewish music, R’ Ben Zion was a man of refined character – an exemplar of modesty and humility. His charitable qualities along with his extensive knowledge of Torah and Chassidus shone through every aspect of his storied career.

For more related content, visit the JMN website and enter “Shenker” in the search bar. Click the link below to see last year’s full-length Yahrtzeit/Shabbos piece that highlighted his most beloved Friday-night melody. https://jewishmusicalnotes.com/2020/11/06/r-ben-zion-shenker-1925-2016-yahrtzeit-19th-of-cheshvan
But for today’s mini-post, I thought I would highlight a personal favorite – one that allows the listener a taste of R’ Ben Zion’s poignant and pleasant musical flavor as well as his deep and genuine connection to Hashem, His People and His Land.

One of the constant prayers of a Jew has been the request that Yerushalayim, whose very stones are replete with the glory of Dovid HaMelech and our rich heritage, be rebuilt.

וְלִירוּשָׁלַיִם עִירְךָ בְּרַחֲמִים תָּשׁוּב. וְתִשְׁכּן בְּתוכָהּ כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתָּ. וּבְנֵה אותָהּ בְּקָרוב בְּיָמֵינוּ בִּנְיַן עולָם. וְכִסֵּא דָוִד מְהֵרָה לְתוכָהּ תָּכִין

While being delayed at Paris’ Orly Airport on a trip to Eretz Yisroel in 1968, R’ Ben Zion was inspired to write this powerful and elegant tune. V’lirushalayim Ircha was first introduced to the world on January 31, 1968 at a bar mitzvah in Tel Aviv and was subsequently released on his Joy of the Land record that same year. Listen closely and watch as the song’s beauty and simplicity envelope your heart and soul.

Yehi zichro baruch, may his name and his music always be remembered as a blessing and kiddush Hashem.

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