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Torah of a Niggun

Aryeh Ehrlich

It’s a chassidus best known for its stirring melodies, but those tunes were the souls of the rebbes who wrote them. Today’s Modzhitzer Rebbe, Rav Chaim Shaul Taub, is the next link, leading his flock for the past decade with a combination of his Ponevezh-trained, brilliant analytical mind together with the heart of a Modzhitz niggun.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

The few hundred men fortunate to be at the Emunas Yisrael beis medrash in Boro Park the first night of Chanukah two years ago were treated to a Heavenly chariot ride: a classic Modzhitz licht-tzinden. The Modzhitzer Rebbe of Bnei Brak — a guest of his dear friend, Emunas Yisrael mashpia Rav Moshe Wolfson — was joined by world-renowned Modzhitz composer and chazzan Rabbi Ben Zion Shenker for an hour of transformation: spiritual intensity joined with the power of niggun so typical of this chassidus. For Reb Ben Zion (then 88), it was one more adventure in the 70-plus years at the side of Modzhitzer rebbes; for the Rebbe, it was another expression of his link in a dynasty that has elevated the power of melody to a level of meditation and purification. The Rebbe — Rav Chaim Shaul Taub — has led the chassidus for the past decade with a combination of his Ponevezh-trained, brilliant analytical mind and the heart of a Modzhitz niggun; now it’s Chanukah again, and within Modzhitz’s special Maoz Tzur, I can still hear the Rebbe’s Selichos of three months ago — it is said that the last day of Chanukah is the final reprieve for the judgment of Rosh Hashanah. Perhaps that’s why there is no derashah before Selichos in Modzhitz, none of the customary words of inspiration and introspection, no mussar seder

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