Archive for the ‘Baruch Dayan Emet’ Category

For Leonard Bernstein’s 100th Birthday

Sunday, August 26th, 2018

As yesterday would have been the 100th birthday of the great Leonard Bernstein (a’h), I am sharing this link to his December 1989 performance of Candide:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMIzHnyuiNY

Bernstein was a “Hasid” in the sense that he helped many of us through his art and his genius and his struggles with Emunah / Faith. Please read his opening remarks, transcribed below, from this wonderful performance:

Surprise!

My dear friends, I hear you thinking, “Here comes the old professor to lecture us again!” But I promise to be brief and only [speak] by way of introduction.

The reason I feel I should say a few words… , that I ought to say something, is that for more than thirty years, (thirty-five years to be exact), people have asked me, “Why Candide; whither and whence Candide?” And I thought I might answer a little more clearly by speaking not only as the composer of this work, but as an every-day observer of history – like anyone here – and particularly of that period of history known as “The Age of Enlightenment”, roughly the eighteenth century, which was the century in which Voltaire lived, wrote, and in which he had extraordinary influence.

His masterpiece was a tough, skinny little novella, called “Candide” which inspired the playwright Lilian Helman and me to have a bash at it musically.

Voltaire’s book was actually entitled, “Candide or Optimism,” it being a viciously satirical attack on a prevalent philosophical system known as “Optimism” which was based on the rather indigestible writings of a certain Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz and popularized by our own beloved Alexander Pope.

For example, in this great line from his “Essay on Man”:

“One truth is clear, Whatever is, is right.”

Now according to Leibniz, whose ideas Pope was lyricizing, if we believe in a Creator, then He must be a GOOD Creator, and the greatest of all possible Creators and therefore could have created only the best of all possible worlds; in other words, everything that is, is right.

Granted that in this world the innocent are mindlessly slaughtered and that crime mostly goes unpunished, and that there is disease and death and poverty but, if we could only see the whole picture, the divine, universal plan, then we would understand that whatever happens is for the best!

Thus spake Leibniz.

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Reb Zalman’s “Hilulah”

Sunday, June 17th, 2018

Tonight will be Reb Zalman’s 4th Yahrzeit, “ברביעי֙ בחמשה לחדש” / Fifth of Tammuz.

It was two years ago, July 13, 2016, a few days after his 2nd Yahrzeit that year, and we gathered at the Aleph Kallah in Fort Collins and heard these amazing sharings. Deep thanks to Rabbi Tirzah and Rabbi Marc for their holy work.

Feel free to add your comments below. Gabbai Seth Fishman

~~~

Rabbi Tirzah Firestone:

Everybody! As we start, I invite you to take a big breath! Let’s take a moment to come back home into ourselves and wind down from the day. Take a deep breath. Ahhh!

Bruchim habaim.

I want to mention the extraordinary good news that our beloved friend, brother, colleague and teacher, Rabbi Marc Soloway is with us despite his recent loss. Reb Marc just got up from shiva for his father and he returned from London yesterday afternoon.

Marc is in a tender place; and all of us are tender too, as we recall and share the events around the miraculous occurrences and last days related to Reb Zalman’s departure from this world into the next, his hilulah.

Rabbi Marc and I had the unimaginable honor of laying our Rebbe to rest!

In the midst of leading the levaya, a chant came to me and it was pushing, really dofek, it was pushing, “Sing me! Sing me!” We’ll start with that now. I felt it came from Reb Zalman, that he wanted this passuk from the sixteenth perek of Tehillim sung.

I’d like to begin with a brief teaching on the term “Hilulah” which is, after all, the theme of this Kallah. As has been explained at all the orientations, it means, “celebration” in Hebrew, “festivities” normally surrounding a wedding.

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Gravesite of Reb Zalman (z’l)

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

Reb Zalman’s Tombstone
מצבה של ר’ זלמן זצוק”ל

RZ_Gravesite_orig

RZ_Gravesite_rev2

Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi kever / grave and tombstone