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

Friday, May 25, 2007

Shlomo or Not Shlomo: The Saga Continues

I received the following email from Shlomo Katz relating to the origin of the song Ma Tovu that appears on Eitan Katz's new CD, Unplugged. The origin was first questioned in a comment by Yitz of Heichal Haniginah.

ready for this one?

My Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Brovender, gives a Thursday night parsha class in katamon. I was lucky enough to have a free Thursday night, so i went and just got home.

When i was there i noticed a hippie-ish man in the back , filming the shiur with a video camera that he had set up. After the shiur, which was very strong, someone there asked me a question about a certain 'shlomo' niggun, to which i answered the date and album the song was on. (Eishes Chayil). As i was walking down the stairs, leaving, this hippie brother comes up to me, and asks me very innocently, if i ever heard of the niggun 'ma tovu', and if Reb Shlomo ever recorded it. As i was beginning to tell him about eitan's new album, I stop and ask him why he is davka asking me about this niggun...he would mamesh be the last guy in the world I would think knows it...

So he tells me that back in the day, he and his wife used to be sort of Shlomo chevre, and this man's wife asked Shlomo to write a niggun for her husband to the words ma tovu, since this is his pasuk. His name is Michoel, which begins with mem and ends with lamed, just like the pasuk ma tovu.....mishkenosecha yisroel. So he did, he made it up for this guy.

what do we know........
Initially, Yitz thought that the niggun was written by Tanchum Portnoy. That turned out not to be the case. Then Yitz suggested that it was a very old traditional tune. According to Shlomo Katz, we have now come full circle.



  • At 5:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Do u have any idea if Yosef Karduner does weddings here in Israel? If so, how can I contact him?

  • At 10:36 PM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    email me and I will send you his contact information.

  • At 8:55 AM, Blogger Natan said…

    Fantastic now Eitan doesn't have to issue a retraction. It's a cute story.

  • At 7:46 AM, Blogger yitz said…

    Hold on, everyone. As I mentioned in my e-mail to MO and Shlomo Katz, there was more than one tune that Reb Shlomo sang to Ma Tovu. Another "unpublished" gem that is better known with the words, "Nafshi LaShem miShomrim LaBoker" [Psalm 130], I have a recording of RSC singing that to the words Ma Tovu. I'm not convinced that the niggun described in Shlomo Katz's story here is the same Ma Tovu that's on the Eitan recording. Did S. Katz hear the man sing it?
    BTW, I originally "thought" it was a Portnoy tune, but I did remember distinctly that Itzik Eisenstadt told me it was NOT Reb Shlomo's. He still stands by that, contending that it's an old cantorial melody. I will confront him with this story when I see him (he's coming soon to Israel), but I would like a confirmation from Shlomo Katz, that he actually heard the tune.


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