Thursday, September 24, 2009

Today is the Shpoler Zeide Yorzeit

Here are some stories and songs/niggunim:

Kol BaYaar

It is said that both the text and the moving melody of this supplication
were composed by the renowned righteous man Reb Arye Leib, one of the
followers of the Baal Shem Tov. He was known as the Shpoler Zeide having
lived in the city of Shpole in the Ukraine. He is remembered as a great
exponent of Ahavat Yisroel, the his love for fellow Jews. This melody was
chanted by the Shpoler Zaide before the midnight prayer bewailing the
destruction of the Temple, "Tikun Chatzot."

The text is divided into four stanzas. Each verse is sung in Hebrew, Yiddish
and Russian (a mixture of White Russian and Ukrainian). The first section of
the melody is sung with the text and the musical refrain, without words,
follows. Only the first verse is sung on this record in three languages. The
same melody may be used for each succeeding verse.

This soulful melody is a dialogue between the Almighty Father and His
children, the people of Israel. The Father looks for His children in the
Diaspora, Galut, and implores them to return home to the Holy Land. "Where
have you been that you have forsaken Me?" He inquires of His children, "Dear
children, please return home, I feel forlorn without you." The children's
answer is "But, Father, how can we return when there is a guard blocking the

Hupp Cossack!

This triumphant tune is associated with the a Chassidic Rebbe's
self-sacrifice in saving the life of a fellow Jew. The story: It once
happened that a Jew who had rented an inn from the local landlord had fallen
behind in his payments and was jailed. The landlord announced that on a
particular day this Jew was to be dressed in a bear costume and to compete
in a dance contest with the Cossacks. The Shpoler Zeide put his life on the
line and secretly took the place of this unfortunate Jew dressed in the
costume and won the dance. Eliyahu HaNavi taught the Zeida how to dance!
This is the song to which they danced.

The Birth of the "Shpoler Zeideh"

Kol Tuv,
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
Phone: 972-2-992-1218 / Cell: 972-54-842-4725
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eFax: 1-832-213-3135
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