Shabbat Shalom (The Diaspora Yeshiva Band)

June 19, 2020

I no longer call my father to wish him a good Shabbos. I no longer receive his bracha on Erev Yom Kippur nor do I rush to the phone on Motza’ei Yom Kippur to find out how he managed the fast. I no longer call him on September 2nd to wish him a Happy Birthday. I no longer wait until it’s morning in America to wish my father a happy Father’s Day…

However, a day still does not pass when I don’t instinctively reach for the phone to call him. Countless events and numerous daily experiences occur that cause me to make a mental note to call him; a child’s milestone, a dvar Torah, a good joke, or just a song he might enjoy…

Thankfully, there is a treasure trove of memories that I can mine for wonderful sources of solace and comfort. Memories are a beautiful gift from Hashem. By being able to access the fond and warm memories of time spent together, conversations we had and simchos we shared, I can find a measure of consolation to my grief.

It is the memories of Shabbos in our home that I will forever cherish… The Friday night walk home from the shtiebel around the corner…. entering the warmly lit house, the aroma of hot chicken soup permeating the air and awakening my soul. The way my father would enter the living room to sing Shalom Aleichem and Eishes Chayil surrounded by his loving family. The way he would then give each of us a bracha while somehow always making us feel two feet taller than we were the week before – until eventually, he would actually have to reach way up to place his hands upon our heads….. V’yaseim l’cha shalom.

Few songs take me back to my childhood so quickly, so vividly, quite like today’s tune does. When I play this song, I am suddenly transported back to my old living room, with all of its familiar warmth and color, listening to another great record from my father’s record collection. Back to my youth, back to a simpler time – back to a world with no pressures of countless deadlines at work. Back to a world that knew no worry. Back to a world that knew no pain. An undeniable feeling of – you know… Peace.

It would be years later, as I sat at my father’s bedside, taking in what would be the last time the family would sit all together, that this song came to mind once more. And it really is no wonder. Together we all sang this song to take ourselves back to a life that once was, but that we somehow subconsciously knew would never quite be the same ever again.

🎵Shabbat Shalom – you’ll hear your children sing… Shabbat Shalom, it means so many things…🎵

So while I no longer call him to say “Good Shabbos,” I still feel that sense of otherworldly tranquility that my father used to infuse into our home every Friday night. Now, when I come home to the sights, smells and sounds of Shabbos in my own home, and as I start to sing Shalom Aleichem surrounded by my loving family, it is particularly comforting to know that my father, a man of shalom, is up there living in a world of shalom, surrounded by the Malachei Hashalom.

Shabbat Shalom was the first song that Avraham Rosenblum, founder of the Diaspora Yeshiva Band, composed after his first encounter with a Shabbos in Yerushalayim back in 1971. The track is from the band’s 1978 record At the Gate of Return, and is an ode to Shabbos and the heavenly peace that she brings.

At the time, Rosenblum dedicated the song to his parents, both of whom were Holocaust survivors from Vilnius (Vilna), Lithuania. In that same spirit, I would like to dedicate this Musical Notes entry to my dear mother, may she live and be well, and may she continue to experience tremendous nachas from all her children and grandchildren, ad me’ah v’esrim shana.

🎵Shabbat Shalom – It’s nice to be at home.🎵

Wishing all of you a peaceful Shabbos – שבת שלום

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