The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

V'Yatzmach Purkanei

In his essay "Yiddishkeit Without Ideology: A Letter to My Son", Moshe Koppel writes:

Yiddishkeit is not meant to consist of instant solutions to personal problems, canned shallow theology, shlock asthetics or narrow-minded provincialism. It is meant to encourage the depth and tension that - forgive me for this odd example but I know you'll know what I mean - distinguishes Carlebach from Boro Park Rock.
Last week there was a very strange thread going down on the Yahoo Shiny Shoe Music Group that brought professor Koppel's words to mind.

One of the groupees, a fellow who apparently works for Eli Gerstner (the man who has single-handedly brought Jewish Music to its lowest level ever) wondered why it was ok for Rabbi Shmuel Brazil (Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshiva Sh'or Yoshuv and composer of the songs that are recorded as "Regesh") to produce the niggun "V'yatzmach Purkanei", while The Chevra got tremendous grief for recording (one of the all-time most horrific 'Jewish' songs in the history of Yiddishkeit) "Yehei".

The Chevra and Gerstner were assailed for recording a 'song' that was put to the words of Kaddish. Why, asks this groupee, didn't Rabbi Brazil get grief for putting his niggun to words of Kaddish?

It is hard to believe that a person with ears to hear can actually ask such a question. But, since he asked, let me try to answer. 'Yehei' is a vulgar knockoff of N'Sync and other boy bands that was put through the synthisizer, digitally distorted and produced for the sole purpose of making money. V'yatzmach is a niggun of hissorurus that came to this talmid Chacham during a kumzitz. Rabbi Brazil undoubtedly felt that the words "V'yatzmach Puranei V'karev Mishichei" (the only words) fit the haunting niggun and expressed what was in his heart.

While Moshe Koppel's son could understand what distinguishes Carlebach (or, in this case, Rabbi Brazil's niggunim) from Shiny Shoe music, this poor soul cannot. Hashem Y'rachem.


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