Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Pre-Pesach Links & Letters

Heichal HaNegina has done a rounup of Pesach nigunim with links to audio clips.

Kesher Talk has some too!

Now some letters (emails actually):

A.G. writes in response to Hayom Yom Huledet... L'Moshiach?!:
You have taken a very complex issue and oversimplified it. You ought to study it in depth before you flippantly dismiss it another wayward cult. One day when we meet, I’ll lay it all out for you…The issue is not whether the meshichists are right or wrong – let one and all practice their independent religious beliefs – but rather, how frum artists, self proclaimed role models to Jewish young and old would whore themselves to a cause they clearly don’t believe in for a few shekels. That’s what pisses me off…
I studied cults in university as part of a sociology minor. I’m not just throwing out words.

I don’t consider Chabad to be a cult, but the messianic sub-set there has evolved EXACTLY as UFO cults evolve. I don’t say this flippantly. I was playing in Crown Heights a lot around the time the Rebbe ZT"L died and I also have some friends who became BT’s of the meshichist variety. I’ve also read a lot of Messianic Chabad literature over the years.

In addition, I’ve read David Berger’s book and Chaim Rapoport’s response.

Read about this UFO cult:

The similarities with regard to how these groups resolve their “cognitive dissonance” is remarkable.

And I disagree with his other point as well. The issue is whether the meshichists are right or wrong. If they are wrong and distorting Torah, and I believe they are, then people have an obligation to protest and certainly shouldn’t be assisting in promoting their beliefs. For example, take a look at one meshichist blogger's attempt to explain the Rambam in the comments to a Hirhurim post we linked here.

Psachya writes re: Sefira acapella albums:
Re the a cappella "Sefira album" issue - two personal stories that may add some perspective:

A couple of years ago, I was invited to perform on a Sefira album (never mind whose). My performance consisted of playing choral parts on a voice-sampled keyboard. Eventually, my tracks were cut from the final version because they "sounded too good." While I have no complaints against the artists (I was paid for the sessions, after all), it kind of begs the question - how "bad" does it have to sound to qualify?

Another story. I recently played a 1-piece Bar Mitzvah for a relative of mine. A few weeks before the BM, a grandmother passed away. I called & asked if they still wanted music, and was told to come, but to only play when the mourner left the room. I suggested hiring extra singers and making it an a cappella gig. I was actually very impressed with the response: "Music is music is music - why look for loopholes? There's a reason an avel isn't supposed to listen to music." Just a few points to ponder.
I'm still looking for a halachik source, i.e published teshuva, that distinguishes between recorded vocal music and recorded instrumental music with regard to sefira. Can anyone cite one?

Bob Schneider writes:
Albany Records has just released "Aires de Sefarad". It is a cycle of 46 works,an hour of music,written for the violin and guitar ensemble-Duo46 by composer Jorge Liderman and based on 500 year old Jewish songs .For information,visit the website at