Monday, May 2, 2011

The Shema Yisrael Rebbe

The first Kaliver Rebbe, Rabbi Yitzchak Isaac of Kaliv, Hungary (1744-1828),  was known as the "Sweet Singer of Israel". Rabbi Yitzchak Isaac was discovered by Rabbi Aryeh Leib ben Sarah, a disciple of the Baal Shem Tov, and one of the 36 hidden righteous people of his generation. Rabbi Leib first met Rabbi Isaac when he was a small shepherd boy, and told the boy's mother, a widow, that her son was destined to be a great Tzaddik.

Indeed, Rabbi Isaac grew to be a great Rebbe, whose dynasty survived the darkest hour of Jewish history and lives on today with great vitality, emphasizing the power of Jewish unity in the face of our greatest enemies. Rebbe Yitzchak Isaac composed many Hasidic melodies, which were often adapted from Hungarian folk melodies. He told his students that the melodies of his songs were lost treasures from the songs of the Levites at the Holy Temple of Jerusalem, which were lost among the nations over the years and were now being restored to the Jewish people. As proof, his followers recount that the gentile who taught Rebbe a melody would forget it as soon as he learned it.

In the video below, the sixth Kaliver Rebbe of Jerusalem, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Taub, may he live long, "Sola Kakas Mar", one of the songs composed by the "Sweet Singer of Israel."

The Kaliver Rebbe of Jerusalem, may he live long, is a survivor of Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen, and has gone to great lengths to memorialize the six million martrys and to keep tradition alive among Jews of diverse backgrounds.

In 1944, the Rebbe was transported to Auschwitz by the Nazis, arriving three days before Shavuos. From Auschwitz he was transferred to the Warsaw Ghetto and the Breslau concentration camp, and later to Bergen-Belsen.

Those who have had the opportunity to hear the Kaliver Rebbe know that he ends every talk by leading his listeners in Shma Yisrael (Hear O Israel, the Lord Our God, the Lord is One). Each prayer carries the story of the amazing miracle behind the Rebbe's escape from the death camp, recounted below via Dixie Yid:
During World War II, when the Rebbe was in a concentration camp, the Nazis brought him to the crematorium. Facing death, the Rebbe said to Hashem:

What will my last “Shema Yisrael” add to You? Give me life and save me, and I will bring You “Shema Yisrael” to many.”

The Rebbe’s prayer was answered. Somehow, the plans were changed, and the Rebbe was spared. The Rebbe kept his promise. He is bringing the unifying message of Shema Yisrael to many.
After the war ended, the Rebbe reunited with his wife in Sweden and emigrated to the U.S., where he began his work in memorializing the Holocaust in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1962, the Rebbe moved to Israel, and created the Kiryas Kaliv center in Rishon L'Zion. Since 2004, the Rebbe resides in Jerusalem.

During the last 60 years, the rebbe has traveled to millions of Jews throughout the world with the message of Jewish unity that kept him alive in Auschwitz. In Israel, the Rebbe is a key force for Jewish unity, a devout Chasidic Rebbe who reaches out to all diverse segments of the Jewish population, teaching the message of Shma Yisrael to all Jews, regardless of the divisions that blur our vision of Klal Yisroel.

May we merit to see the faces of true tzaddikim in our generation, and heed the cry of Jewish unity that had the power to shake Heaven during darkest times of our history, and that will usher us into the brightest. Hen Ga'alti Eschem Acharit K'Vereshit Lihiyos Lachem L'Elohim - I will redeem you, in the end like in the beginning, to be for you Your God.

Sola Kakas Mar / The Crow of the Rooster

Crows the rooster now
Sun is rising now
In green forest and open fields,
Walks a little bird-
But what a bird is it?
But what a bird is it?
Its feet is yellow, blue are the wings,
Waiting for me there-
Wait, bird, wait a bit
You must always wait
If G-d gave me only to you
Yours I will be then-
But when will that happen?
But when will that happen?
When the Temple stands again
And Zion is rebuilt again
Then will it happen-
Why does it not happen,
Why doe it not happen
U'Mipnei Chatoeni Golini M'Artzeni

[Because of our sins, we were exiled from our land]
That's why does not happen- 

Lyrics from 


No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your interest! Please join the conversation:

Discuss with other readers in real-time