First in a new series of holy songs lost in the Holocaust.
In this day and age, Jewish music is known for the exceptional talent of singers, arrangers, and composers. Just look at the roster from Hasc 25 and you can get a picture of what it’s all about.There are also Chassidishe niggunim from many dynasties that are known for their classic beautiful hartzige material. However, we would like to discuss a different original album that may be a notch higher in its spiritual background. The name is “Ish Chassid” – a collection of niggunim composed by none other than the holy Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk zt”l.
This is a product of massive research by Rabbi Duvid Mayer Russ from Mechon Shiray Duvid. This chashuve yungerman runs this organization leshem shomayim who’s purpose is to revive and preserve for the coming generations holy songs composed by Tzadikim from previous generations and especially from Chassidishe Chatzeiros that were wiped out in the Holocaust r”l. This is the first in the series and Rabbi Russ put in tremendous effort to find songs that are traced back authentically 250 years or more , and to come up with the real nusach that was actually sung by the Rebbe Reb Elimelech himself.
The value of this album runs very deep. The tzadikim of previous generations said that if one learns the sefarim from the Rebbe Reb Meilich such as Noam Elimelech and the famous Tzetel Koton , that the holy words themselves have a segula to bring about positive change and to light up one’s neshama. Then they take it one step further. Not only the sefarim, but even the niggunim that he composed as part of his holy Avoidas Hashem and were sung by Tzadikim and Kedoishei Elyon, have a power to inspire and lift up our souls.
Furthermore, just like if one learns the sefer of a Tzadik, he will be a mailitz for him, so too if ones sings his nigunim, the Tzadik will bring about yeshuos for what he needs.
The music is arranged by Reb Chaim Yitzchok Goldman – the son of the famous Reb Moshe Goldman a”h who produced the Camp Shalva albums. The choir is very professional and includes singers from the popular choirs in the New York area. There is also a child soloist – Amrom Spira with a beautiful sweet voice.
There is a story from the Holocaust with the second song – Ma Yedidus. There was a kapo (Jewish guard) that was persecuting the Jews in a concentration camp. One time he caught a Rov davening and started hitting him with severe blows till the Rov fell down on the ground. He wanted to be mechazek himself so he started singing this nigun to himself. The kapo was startled when he heard this song and asked the Rov where he knows it from, but he didn’t want to answer because he thought the kapo was just teasing him further. But he persisted and promised that he will never hit another Yid and asked “perhaps from Rav Yoelish from Kruleh?”(Who later became the Satmerer Rebbe ZT”L) and the Rov admitted that he was in fact his talmid and learned it from him. The kapo broke down to cry and said he doesn’t know how he lost his way till he reached such lowly depths, and did tshuva on the spot.
I actually knew 2 songs on the album from beforehand, but never knew they were Rebbe Reb Meilich’s niggunim. – #7 Dror Yikra and #10 Kakosuv which is also on a Suki & Ding Wedding album.
So if you have an appreciation for some geshmake spiritual food and nourishment to uplift your soul, Ish Chassid is for you!