Chassidic Ecstasy in Music

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Peter Lang, 2009 - Law - 230 pages
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Music is of paramount importance in Judaism. On the verse, Hearken unto the song and the prayer which Your servant prays before You this day (I Kings 8:28), the Gemarrah states that wherever there is song, there shall be prayer; and indeed, in the Temple, song was an inseparable element of the sacrificial services, thereafter finding its position in the prayers and the Torah reading, with its special melody, in the synagogue.
Chassidism employed music as one of its main avenues for serving G-d. Music served to bring the individual to a state of awakening and joy, nullifying sadness which was seen as an element that could only lead to negativity. Joy allowed one to reach ever higher levels in the service of G-d, leaving one's sorrows behind, as explained by the founder of the Modzits Chassidic court, Rabbi Yehezkel of Kozmir, when interpreting the verse, with joy you shall go forth (Isaiah 55) to mean that through joy, we shall go forth from all our difficulties.
In this book, Shmuel Barzilai takes the reader on a brief and concise tour of the Chassidic courts and their world of music. It explains the wordless melody (Niggun), which is perhaps even more important than songs having words; the importance of dance; the place of honor given to Shabbat songs; and the role of music in Kabbalah. The book provides an overview of the activities of Rabbis who composed and sang at every opportunity, whether in the synagogue or while conducting the traditional Tisch where Chassidic adherents gathered each Shabbat and Festival to hear their Rebbe explain sections of Torah, sing and interpret sayings on music. Barzilai also discusses melodies - niggunim - that became particularly famous, or derived from non-Jewish sources but underwent a process that allowed them to be adopted by the Admoric leaders and integrated into the Chassidic court's repertoire.
 

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Contents

Acknowledgments
13
Reading the Torah
21
Chassidism
27
The Innovative Aspect of Song in The Chassidic Perception
35
The Niggun Melody
53
The Niggun and Formulated Prayer
66
The Importance of Dance in Chassidism
72
The Shabbat and Music
81
Yah Echsof Rabbi Aharon of Karlin 17361772
129
Dance
138
The Chassidic Approach to nonJewish Music
143
Musical Instruments used in Chassidic music
149
Interviews
157
Mr Israel Katzover Jerusalem
164
Mr Saul Meizlish Kfar Saba Israel
172
Professor Eliyahu Schleifer Jerusalem
179

The Shabbat Table in the Admors Court
88
Music in Mysticism
93
Use of Kabbalistic Writings as Texts for Melodies
102
Chabad Chassidism ____
111
RebbeComposers
117
Legends and Examples
123
Appendices
187
Epilogue
203
Photographs
215
Glossary of Rabbis and Cantors
221
References
227
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

The Author: Shmuel Barzilai, Cantor and composer, was born in 1957 as a Seventh-generation Jerusalemite. Since 1992, he has served as the Chief Cantor in the Jewish community of Vienna, Austria. He is a graduate of the Be'er Yaakov, Knesset Hizkiyahu and Hevron Yeshivas, and studied at the Rabbinic Seminary of Givatayim. Cantor Barzilai is a graduate of Tel Aviv Cantorial Institute, in Israel. He has received advanced degrees from the University of Vienna, Austria with a B.A. and M.A. from the Department of Philosophy in Jewish Sciences.

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