Music: Ma’alin Bakodesh
By Eli W. Schlossberg
Baltimore Maryland 2018
Torah and Music to Serve Hashem
The Shirah at the aftermath of the splitting of the Red Sea, and the many musical Klei Kodesh used in the Bais Hamikdash, the songs the Levi’im sang, King David’s Psalms and Shir Hashirim, all show us the importance of music in our Torah lives. Our respective davening nusschaot, and our beautiful melodious tefillos represent our beautiful avodah to Hashem. Every Yom Tov and holiday has its own specific niggunim. Starting from the famous world-class chazzanim, and moving to Reb Shlomo Carlebach, Reb Michal Twersky … Rabbi Boruch Chait … and on to Mordechai Ben David, Yossie Green, Avraham Fried, and all that have followed – theirs are the songs that are sung by Klal Yisrael today. All of these talented musicians were given the bracha of music and have brought much simcha to us all.
After the Holocaust, teaching Klal Yisroel to sing once again, that most prolific composer of Yiddishe music, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, once said “Music takes us from where we are to where we want to be”. How true! Music creates joy and simcha and can change one’s mood. In tefillah, music often elevates one’s kavanah to bring him closer to Hashem.
Mankind received from Hashem a wonderful gift, the gift of music to enjoy, to relax by and to change the moods of the listeners. The grand composers of yesteryear - Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Haydn, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Liszt, and other famous composers were talented innovators of the classical music world. One must say that Hashem bestowed upon them an incredible talent which gave them the ability to create musical symphonic masterpieces. Their music is recognized by all as great masterpieces and enjoyed by all mankind.
I was born into a musical family. I vividly remember once my mother, upon hearing a live performance of the very special fantastic voice of one of the finest tenors in the world, Lucciano Pavorotti, saying the Bracha of Osey Ma’asei Bereishis! She realized that his voice and talent were a special gift from Hashem.
My parents had a European Bechstein Piano. One day I received a call from Rabbi Dovid Lipson. He was looking for a piano to rehearse his music for an upcoming concert. I offered him the piano in my parents home, and when my mother heard his incredible talent, she probably once again said a Bracha. His skill and talent were truly masterful.
A Rosh Kollel and Masterful Concert Pianist
Rabbi Dovid Lipson is the Rosh Kollel of a highly skilled Kollel in Eretz Yisrael, Kollel Aliyos Shlomo (named after Horav Shlomo Freifeld, his Rebbe). The Kollel is an exceptional bastion of Torah learning at the highest level. Rabbi Lipson was given the bracha of becoming a great Talmid Chochom and Torah scholar, as well as a uniquely talented concert pianist of classical music. As a concert pianist he performs in a sort of long black tails, but his garments are instead a black kapota. When he sways and moves with powerful intensity he isn’t “shokkeling”, but he moves with the powerful movements and feelings of the music score and his incredible interpretation of the beautiful music he skillfully plays.
When was the last time you experienced a huge Talmid Chochum and devoted Torah Masmid, a Rosh Kollel, play a concert and a concerto of Brahms, Beethoven, or Mozart? He does this to help support his incredible Kollel. The musical presentation, usually taking place in private homes, is the quality of a concert at the Met. He takes this beautiful classical music to new heights in a concert of Ma’alin B’kodesh. He has performed to audiences in Baltimore, Monsey, New York, Miami, Detroit and Los Angeles many, many times accompanied by strings (violin and cello), in a harmonious symphony of musical beauty. His audiences are amazed by his talent and the beauty of his music. An unusual sight to see a Rosh Kollel as a Maestro!
This is something Lakewood has yet to see. Performing now in Lakewood for the benefit of his Kollel, Rabbi Lipson brings his incredible talent, truly a gift from Hashem, to the Torah community of Lakewood. Experience the beauty, dynamic skill and intensity of his musical talents, all a Kiddush Hashem.
What a beautiful way to spend a Sunday evening – and 100% glatt kosher!
Eli W. Schlossberg is an Orthodox Baltimore native, a businessman and a talented musician and has authored two books “The World of Orthodox Judaism” and just-released “My Shtetl Baltimore”. He is a regular contributor of the Baltimore Orthodox paper the Where What When.