The Official Leibele Waldman Blog

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Hineni Heoni Mimaas - The Hazzan's Prayer

During the High Holy Days, the Hazzan begins the Musaf service with the Hineni prayer (here I am), which is a private prayer.  Serving as the Shaliach Tzibbur (emissary of the congregation), the Hazzan, a man of great humility, pleads with the Almighty that he be worthy to represent the people of his congregation and all the people of Israel.

This prayer is extremely powerful.  Listen closely as the Hazzan prays for the congregation on these Days of Judgment.  The introduction is by Rabbi Irving J. Rosenbaum of the Chicago Loop Synagogue. 


Below is a translation of the prayer:

Here I stand, impoverished of deeds, trembling and frightened with the dread of He Who is enthroned upon the praises of Israel.

I have come to stand and supplicate before You for Your people Israel, who have sent me although I am unworthy and unqualified to do so.

Therefore, I beg of you, O G-d of Abraham, G-d of Isaac, and G-d of Jacob, HaShem, HaShem, G-d, Compassionate and Gracious, G-d of Israel, Frightening and Awesome One, grant success to the way upon which I travel, standing to plead for mercy upon myself and upon those who sent me.

Please do not hold them to blame for my sins and do not find them guilty of my iniquities, for I am a careless and willful sinner. Let them not feel humiliated by my willful sins. Let them not be ashamed of me and let me not be ashamed of them. Accept my prayer like the prayers of an experienced elder whose lifetime has been well spent, whose beard is fully grown, whose voice is sweet, and who is friendly with other people.

May you denounce the Satan, that he not impede me. May You regard our omissions with love, and obscure our willful sins with love. May You transform all travail and evil to joy and gladness, to life and peace, for us and for all Israel, who love truth and peace. And may there be no stumbling block in my prayer.

May it be Your will, HaShem, the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the great, mighty, and awesome G-d, “I Am That I Am,” that all the angels who bring up prayers may present my prayer before Your Throne of Glory; may they spread it out before You for the sake of all the righteous, devout, wholesome, and upright people, and for the sake of the glory of Your great and awesome Name, for You hear the prayer of Your people Israel with compassion.

Blessed are You, who hears prayer.


Thank you to Elisson for the translation [http://elisson1.blogspot.com/2005/10/hineni.html]

Sunday, February 3, 2013

WALDMAN meets Dr. Joseph Shlomo Burg

In 1961 in Forest Hills, New York there was a concert / rally for Israel Bonds.  At this event, Dr. Burg was a speaker and met my father (z"l). He was a lover of Hazzanut and was a big fan of my father.

Burg, a former Israeli Minister of Postal Services graciously gave a commemorative stamp album and a personal letter to my father stating that it was an honor to have met him.  Some photos of the stamps are included below as well as a copy of the letter.

Also, please find some biographical information about Dr. Burg, courtesy of Wikipedia. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yosef_Burg]

Biography 
Yosef Shlomo Burg was born in Dresden, Germany. He attended the Rabbinical Seminary in Berlin and the University of Berlin from 1928 to 1931. He received a Doctorate in mathematics and logic from the University of Leipzig in 1933 and was ordained as a rabbi in 1938. While at the University of Leipzig, he joined the Young Mizrahi religious Zionist movement. He arranged Jewish prayer services in private homes after German synagogues were burned, and worked underground to help Jews escape to England and the Netherlands. His mother and grandmother died in Nazi concentration camps. In 1939, he immigrated to Mandate Palestine. He worked as teacher at the Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium in Tel Aviv before moving to Jerusalem. There he become a research fellow at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Burg lived in the Rehavia neighborhood of Jerusalem. He died on 15 October 1999 at the age of 90 at the Sha'arei Tzedek Medical Center.

Political Career
In the 1951 elections the party ran by itself, winning eight seats. Burg remained in the Knesset and became Minister of Health in the third government. In the fourth, fifth and sixth governments he served as Minister of Postal Services, a position he retained until 1958. In Palestine, Burg joined Hapoel HaMizrachi, a religious-Zionist party. Alongside three other religious parties, Hapoel HaMizrachi ran on a joint list called the United Religious Front for thefirst Knesset elections in 1949. In 1956 Hapoel HaMizrachi merged with their ideological twins from the Mizrachi party to form the National Religious Party (NRP). The party was a member of all governments until 1992, and as a key party member, Burg maintained a ministerial position in every Knesset until his resignation from the Knesset in 1986, holding the positions of Minister of Welfare, Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister without Portfolio and Minister of Religious Affairs.In 1977, he became the President of the World Mizrachi Movement. Burg was famous for his erudite wit. Journalists dubbed his appearances in parliament "Burgtheater," after the famous playhouse in Vienna.[1]

Legacy
According to Shimon Peres, Burg's most important legacy was trying to bridge the gulf between religious and secular Jews: "He was a religious man but he believed in compromise."[1] Ehud Barak said Burg took the path of moderation and tolerance, and showed a love for Jewish tradition.[1]


           

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Anu B'koach

This is a Kabbalistic poem containing 7 verses, each with 6 words.  The first letters, 42 in total, are hidden within the Book of Genesis and have mystical significance.



ANU  B'KOACH - "O Lord we beseech thee". O Lord we beseech Thee to loosen, with the greatness of Thy powerful right hand, those that are bound in captivity. Accept the cry of Thy people; exalt and purify us, O Thou who art tremendous! O, most powerful G-d! we beseech Thee to preserve, as the apple of the eye, those that seek Thee, who art G-d alone. Bless, and purify them, and continually requite them according to Thy merciful righteousness. Thou, who art most mighty and holy! Guide Thy congregate people with Thine abundant goodness. Thou, who art G-d alone, and most excellent, regard Thy people, who continually make mention of Thy holiness. Accept our prayers, and hearken our cries, O Thou! to whom all secrets are known.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Rozo D'Shabbos

The Secret of Shabbos

This liturgical recording was the first song on my father's (z"l) Cantorials record, published by Maloh Records and accompanied by Abe Ellstein on the organ.  He made these "Maloh" recordings to bring spiritual pleasure to his many admirers, just as he did with his previous RCA Victor recordings.  Rozo D'Shabbos is written in Aramaic with a translation below. 


Kudsha b'rich Hu, Echod l'eilah, la y'siv al kursaya diyikarei,
The Holy One Blessed be He Who is One above, does not take His seat upon
His throne of glory,


Ad d'isavidas i'hi b'rozo d'echod k'gavna di'lei, l'mehevei echod b'echod.
until she [Malchus] enters the mystery of oneness, similar to His, to be oneness corresponding to Oneness.

V'ha u'kimna, rozo d' "Ad-noi echod, u'shemo echod."
This, as we have stated, is the esoteric meaning of the words "Hashem Echod U'shemo Echod."


Rozo d'Shabbos: i'hi Shabbos d'is'achodas b'rozo d'echod limishrei aloh rozo d'echod.
The mystery of Shabbos: She [Malchus] is on shabbos united within the mystery of Oneness so that the [Supernal] Mystery of Oneness may rest upon her.

Tzlosa dima'alei shabata d'ha isachudas kursaiya yakira kadisha b'rozo d'echod, v'istakonas l'mishrei aloh malko kadisha i'la'ah.
[This takes place during] the maariv prayer of Shabbos eve, for then the holy Throne of Glory merges into the Mystery of Oneness and is ready for the holy transcendent king to rest upon it.

Kad ayil shabata, i'hi isyachadas v'ispirashas misitra achara, v'chol dinin misabrin minah.
As shabbos arrives, she merges into Oneness and is separated from the "other side," and all strict judgements are severed from her.

V'Ihi ishti'oras biyichuda dinhiru kadisha, [v'is'atras b'chama itrin ligabei malko kadisha.]
And she remains in unity with the holy light, [and crowns herself with the many crowns for the holy king.]

V'chol shultanei rugzin u'marei di'dinah, kulhu arkin v'isabru minah.
Then, all powers of wrath and all adversaries flee from her and vanish.

V'leis shultana achara b'chulhu olmin...
and no other power reigns in any of the worlds...


Translation courtesty of Avi at A Nigun a Day http://shirshelyom.blogspot.com/2007/06/rozo-dshabbos-secret-of-shabbos.html

Monday, November 19, 2012

Rosh Hashanah

High Holy Day Melodies and Motifs

From earliest times our High Holy Day synagogue chants and melodies have been the sounding board of the moods and emotions of the Jewish people. The MaHaRIL, Rabbi Jacob ben Moses Molin, in the early 15th Century, recognized this important aspect of the liturgy when he set certain standards and practices for the music in the synagogue and community. His works became the guiding light for all of Eastern European, Ashkenazic Jewry. He codified Jewish music in order to make it uniform for each synagogue and to categorize different musical modes for different daily, Sabbath and holiday settings throughout the year in order to match the particular mood to the particular day. This is especially true with regard to the High Holy Days.

For example, the opening of the Rosh Hashanah Maariv Service begins with a melody that has a majestic character. It serves as a prelude that creates the atmosphere of the day. From the very outset it proclaims that the kingdom of G-d is one of the major themes of the High Holy Day service. Early Chassidim actually called the first night of Rosh Hashanah, “Coronation Night.” The King on high has entered to sit on his throne. It is no wonder that Jews everywhere join together with this exultant theme.

Another place where the mood is evident is the next morning with the beginning of the Shacharit, the morning service, at which time we begin the service with the word, Hamelech, the King. This time, however, the mood is more somber and serious as the process of judging His children has begun. The Maharil popularized the practice that is traditional today. He began in a hushed, plaintive manner and gradually increased the volume heard by the congregation with awe and dread.

The Torah reading for the High Holy Days is also sung in a special mode unlike the rest of the year. According to the Maharil, this is done to emphasize the awesome character of the day so that the congregants might lend their ears to the reading and thus make amends for their faults. The sounding of the Shofar, whose purpose is to rouse Jews into seeking repentance, is also considered a momentous occasion in the synagogue service. The benedictions preceding them are recited in a special, almost royal, melody as one would hear from a series of trumpets heralding the entry of the King.

After the sounding of the Shofar, before the additional or Musaf service, the Cantor, known in Hebrew as the Chazzan or Shaliach Tzibbur, chants a deeply moving personal supplication, the Hineni. The chant does not have a fixed melody or any traditional motif and originally was sung silently by the Cantor. With the passing of time, he raised his voice at those words or phrases that had the power to arouse the emotions of the worshippers who quietly awaited the conclusion of the prayer. Although the Cantor today chants most if not all of the prayer out loud, there is still the tradition of increasing the dynamic at certain phrases.

The greatest and most exalted moment of the Rosh Hashanah service comes when the Ark is opened and the Un’sahne Tokef prayer begins. The text talks about how G-d judges the world on the fearful and solemn days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The prayer reaches its climax at the words Uteshuvah, Utefillah, Utzedaka Ma’avirin Et Ro’a Hagezerah, BUT REPENTANCE, PRAYER AND CHARITY WILL CANCEL THE STERN DECREE, with the congregation and the cantor crying out the phrase in unison. The congregation by this phrase calms itself somewhat from the unnatural fear that gripped it while reciting this stirring prayer.

Finally, as the service closes on the morning of Rosh Hashanah, the prayer Hayom Te’amtzenu (Strengthen us today) takes on a spirited and cheerful quality. Since this is the last prayer of the day, a happy tune is appropriate and demonstrates a lessening of the fear that prevailed for the Day of Judgment and will enable worshipers to return home with hope and confidence for a good year.

The Rosh Hashanah recordings included below are from October 6, 1967 at the Chicago Loop Synagogue.  The compositions you will hear include my father's Hineni, V'chol Ma'aminim, and portions of the Malchuyot, Zichronot, and Shoferot.

 





Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Cantor and the Synagogue

This Yiddish song, written by Rev. Abraham Singer, was one of my father’s favorite concert selections. The song compares the synagogue of yesteryear to the one of today.  Singer tells the story of how crowded the shuls were at the beginning of the 20th Century when the Jewish people attended religious services regularly with their families to hear the Cantor and choir.  They would leave the shul humming a new melody or discussing the Rabbi’s sermon.

But today, the shuls are empty because the Jewish people cannot find the time to go.  Therefore it remains a place just for mourners to attend.  But, the composer ends the song on an optimistic note. 


Someday, the Jewish people will start attending again and once again begin to follow the Laws of the Torah.  Only then, will our Creator forgive us and we will no longer suffer.  This particular rendition was sung on one of his broadcasts on W.E.V.D.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

THE CANTOR TAKES A WIFE


The year was 1933 and my father (z"l) was about to officiate at a wedding. Dressed in his formal robe and walking swiftly toward the beautifully adorned chapel, a lovely young woman crossed his path. Since there were several moments before the ceremony was to begin, my father took the opportunity to exchange some pleasantries with her. Whether it was love at first sight, I do not know. What I do know is that wasn't quite a year later that the lovely young woman, Mollie Saroff, became Mrs. Louis Waldman.

In April 1936, twin boys Harvey and CB, (as he was called), were born, followed by Morton five years later. The Waldmans lived in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn where the boys grew up and attended school, and later moved to Belle Harbor, Queens. As one would imagine, the Waldman home was filled with music and interesting visitors from the Cantorial world as well as the entertainment field. 

Just a word about my dear mother. I believe she was very unique as most children feel about their mothers. But in many ways she was not typical. When my father met her, she was in her mid twenties and after her graduation from Pace University, she was a practicing accountant. Three months before the birth of her twins, she gave up her job to become a full-time housewife to devote herself only to her family. Needless to say, keeping track of my father's work, traveling with him on special occasions and holidays while taking care of her twins was not an easy chore. Not only was she supportive of her children and husband but devoted her time to her mother and two sisters. Her mother lived with us and her sisters and their children were always in our home. Those were the good old days when families were always together, which I'm sure sounds familiar to many.