It’s been quite a few years, but once again I have been given the zchus in writing a review for the one and only Yisroel Werdyger who is one of the most proficient ( I interpret the word “proficient” as a combination of “professional and “magnificent”) and outstanding singers today in Klal Yisroel. He is not only a great singer, but a tremendous Oved Hashem and you can see this right away with the booklet. Unlike the CD cover of previous albums that only have basic descriptions, “Du Voint A Yid” has an expanded booklet (PDF for downloads) with more elaborate inspiration about the songs and story behind the songs.
He starts off with thanking Hashem for the opportunity to release his 5th album and emphasizes that he put in a tremendous effort to deliver refined, chassidishe nigunim that elevate us.
Wow! That’s a breath of fresh air. You see him clearly bucking the trend by steering clear of the Jewish music scene that is more sympathetic to modern secular styles.
This is the first time where his album is not produced by Gershy Moskowitz and Yossi Tyberg, but rather by Shua Fried – Sruly’s extremely multi-talented friend who had arranged the music in his previous albums and it seems like he has exceeded his previous success. Perhaps total autonomy helps.
1- Chap a Tentzel
The album starts off with a bang with a leibedike wedding song that teaches us a valuable lesson for life. It is composed by Meir Adler – a musician who played at thousands of weddings and events. The words are in Yiddish that suggest that when someone is hesitating to dance because it is above his dignity, he should realize that Dovid Hamelech danced with all his might before Hashem. So in reality it is a mitzva.
I would like to add a deeper meaning. There may be many things that are not comfortable for people to do even if their intuition tells them it’s the right thing to do. So this song teaches us the value of going out of your comfort zone. And how do you do that? By asking “What does Hashem want from me right now?” It might not seem appropriate for a man of his stature, or maybe he is not in the mood to dance, but when he realizes this his Ratzon Hashem, that will give him the strength to overcome his resistance and literally jump in the circle to make other people happy. In the beginning it won’t be easy- but the resistance will wear off. Perhaps similar to one who is hesitant to go into a cold swimming pool.
2- Mechitzah Shel Barzel
This song was composed by Motty Illowitz .
The words are from a Gemara discussing Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi who went up to Gan Eden while he was alive. The point of the words are that there is nothing that can separate the Yidden from Hashem – not even an iron partition. A Yid is a Cheilek Eloika Mimaal – meaning a part of Hashem Yisbarach. Even if it seems dark, it is only a perception of detachment, but in essence, a Yid can always connect to his Father in Heaven. The style is a blend of being a slow song , but with a powerful beat. It ends off also slowing down, and then just when you think it’s over, all of a sudden the music revs up again to drive home the lesson again.
This song by Yitzy Waldner was inspired by Yisroel’s passion of the sefer Sfas Emes – one of the most popular and deep chassidishe seforim and written by the great Rabbi Yehuda Aryeh Leib Alter of Ger zt”l. The Sfas Emes writes many times about Emuna And Bitachon and Yitzy Waldner chose these words that refer to a person should throw off his entire “pekkel” and worries and rely only on Hashem. Many people say this passuk after bentching and it is a segula for parnassa. It is a fast upbeat song that is very appropriate for these words. R’ Velvel Feldman wote Yiddish words for the high part that complete driving the message home.
Composed by the renowned mashpia and composer from Belz – Harav Pinchas Breuer.
(He is well known for his hit song “Riboin Ho’oilomim Yodaati Ki Hineni B’yodcho” that was made popular by Avraham Fried.)
This is a popular nigin taken from the first night of Slichos that describe how every Yid deep down only want to cleave to Hashem and do his will. The song is accompanied by the fabulous Shira Choir directed by Yoely Horowitz.
Composed by Harav Hillel Palei – the same who composed Yisroel’s famous hit “Mesikus Hatorah”.
This song is based on a Medrash in Shir Hashirim that the Knesses Yisroel cried out to Hashem that today we don’t have the “Chut Hashani” – the heavenly sign that showed the kapparah that the B’nei Yisroel got on Yom Kippur. However, Hashem answers that tefillos in the Galus are as precious to Hashem as the Chut Hashani was. It’s a really hartzige nigin that provides chizuk . Then speeds up to drive home the message.
Another one by Harav Pinchas Breuer.
This ones is more similar to
Hineni B’yodcho sung by Avraham Fried. It is a unique song by the fact that it consists of several scales. It has both gratitude to Hashem and tefilla for the future that Hashem not forsake us. This is further emphasized by Yiddish words written by the composer. This is a masterpiece with tons of work put in to it.
Composed by Menashe Feigenbaum
As a wonderful singer by chasunas , Sruly feels it is an appropriate time to daven for the chosson and kalla . So why not create a song that he can sing by weddings and daven for them at the same time that they should build happy and healthy homes!
Composed by Motty Illowitz.
This was a tear-jerker for me especially after I read the description in the booklet. His brother had recently lost his wife and this niggun gave him chizuk. It is based on a Shaloh Hakadosh that there is nothing bad that emanates from Hashem and whatever looks bad is not plain good, but the ultimate good!
9- Hashem Li
Composed by Harav Pinchas Breuer.
A great song of chizik in Emuna from Tehillim that we say in Hallel. When my father was being searched by the Germans in Lodz in 1944, he hid in a laundry basket and constantly repeated this passuk. The tempo is mid-range so it has a beat to it. I wouldn’t say it is a slow song.
10- Keil Na
Composed by Hershy Weinberger.
These words are from the famous zemiros Yedid Nefesh that only Hashem can heal the Neshama. It is a very emotional song and the violin in the background is very soothing and calming.
11- Du Voint a Yid!
Composed by Hershy Rottenberg from Antwerp, Belgium – The title track of this album.
Well, well, well, how often do we wait till the 11th song to reach the title track? Many albums don’t even have more than 10! But this is well worth the wait. It is based on the vort from Rav Moshe Leib Sassover that when Hashem passed over the houses of the Bnei Yisroel in Mitzrayim, Hashem didn’t merely overlook the Yidden to just focus on the Mitzriyim to kill the Bechoros. Rather, He was overjoyed and said “AH! here lives a Yid” and focused on His joy that His children will be liberated and redeemed from slavery and live derhoibene-uplifted lives attached to Him.
Composed by Yanky Daskal.
Another song of Emuna – this one really geshmak and leibedik. This teaches an important lesson during Covid 19 that one should not allow himself to be swallowed in to the situation and the media, but rather to rely only Hashem.
Composed by the one and only Yossi Green.
Did he save the best for last?? This was composed by Yossi a while back to mark the 50th anniversary of the Holocaust, in memory of the 6 million Kedoshim who were murdered Al Kiddush Hashem. My only criticism is that Yossi didn’t sing along his usual backup vocals on this one. However, Sruly made sure we didn’t miss Yossi too much as he provided a truly emotionally uplifting finale to a tremendously emotionally uplifting outstanding album! Truly “a cut above!”