photo © 2008 David Howard | more info (via: Wylio)
Last Shabbat, for the first time ever I attended Friday night prayers at my favorite shul, the huge Belzer synagogue in Kiryat Belz, Jerusalem. When I arrived, there was an unusually large crowd in the women’s section, and I didn’t really know why until the Belzer choir started singing their otherworldly, sweet-as-honey Lecha Dodi niggun.
You won’t believe me, but I think I could hear Hashem Himself singing along with the Chassidim in an undertone, and I imagined the angels above circling around to celebrate the beginning of Shabbat with all of the Belzers.
The most moving moment of the Friday night prayers was when the little boys, hundreds of them, call out “Amen!” in unison. What a holy and unforgettable “Amen” it was! Hearing those little boys, I imagined the unfathomable tragedy of the million Jewish children murdered in the Holocaust. And I thought of these little Chassidic boys who are being raised keeping the same traditions as many of those lost children, speaking the same language as they did, and loving the Torah and mitzvot with all their hearts and souls– just like so many of those lost souls who lost their lives sanctifying G-d’s name.
A tear came to my eyes imagining Hashem’s tremendous nachas to have such holy kinderlach filling His world and His synagogues once again.
Oifen Pripetchik is probably my favorite song. It moves me so deeply. I am dedicating this to all our holy children who still bring God’s light into the world with their shining faces as their teachers teach them “Dem Aleph Beis.”
The huge bar mitzvah celebration for the Belzer Rebbe’s grandson