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MUSIC, MOVIES & TV-----"jewish" music (III)

I still don't see why today’s Jewish music is messed up.

Aren’t we supposed to try to listen to more Jewish music and less non Jewish even if it’s not assur.

What is the problem if the tunes aren’t always Jewish or completely Jewish. Like you said, the chasidic zemirous and others were not from Jewish tunes.

And who’s to decide which singers are Jewish, for instance the moderator even said that song with MBD caused a big controversy.

Perhaps I wasn't as clear as I had hoped. Listening to what we call Jewish music is definitely better than listening to non-Jewish music, and sometimes it's even inspirational. But two things:

First, it does matter that our music is mixed up, and it's not like the chassidic melodies. There, the Rebbes made sure that the music provided the right message, Today, that's not always the case.

As an example, take the old Yerachmiel Begun's "elokai ad shelo notzarti aini kedai." The jumpy tune that it is sung to it completely at odds with the solemn message of the words. The tune is supposed to be a tool to better impact the words on your soul. But in this case, it messes up the message and gives the wrong meaning to the words. Now in all fairness to my friend Yerachmiel Begun, I heard from him many years ago that this was the fault of the person who did the arrangements.

But that’s part of the problem today, and that’s a big difference between our music and the Chassidic nigunim. Our songs, even after they are composed, go through many steps to make them marketable. All of this affects the message.

I remember, many years ago when I was a teenager, I was at a wedding in Brooklyn, where, during one of the dances, the choson’s Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Aharon Schechter approached me – I was standing watching the band – and, visibly disturbed, he asked me, “What IS this song they are playing?” (emphasis his)

I thought for a moment. It was the high part to the oldie (it was new, then) “ki kail po’el yeshuos otoh”, it starts “V’kayravtanu malkeinu”.

“Vkayravtanu,” I told the Rosh Yeshiva.

“THIS is V’kayravtanu???” He said, really puzzled, and somewhat upset.

“THIS? THIS? Is ve – kay – rav – tanu ??? V’kayravtanu???” he said, again.

He felt that the song, which by today’s standards would be considered almost chassidish, was too jumpy for the serious thought of asking Hashem to “bring us close, our King, to your Great Name.”

I learned something form that. To me, maybe, that song was inspiring. It certainly didn’t seem incongruous. But to someone who was more in tune with the words than I was, the song made no sense.

But I am sure, that, despite his objections to the tune, he was happy that they weren’t playing the Beach Boys.

So all I am saying is that what we call “Jewish music” is relative. If it inspires you, fine. But we just need to know that on a higher level of spiritual sensitivity, we would need to be inspired by other means.

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