Saturday, April 3, 2010

Songs of Songs

Among my fondest memories of Rabbi Kret, z"tzl, was the way he would chant the megilos on the holidays. His chanting of Koheles for Sukkos was so moving and so sad, that it would be hard not to weep. The way he chanted the Song of Songs was also incredibly beautiful. For him, Shir ha-Shirim really was a love song between God and Israel and to hear him leyn with such passion was in itself a deeply religious experience.

This past Shabbos we were treated to another amazing rendition of Shir ha-Shirim. Unfortunately, Rabbi Kret is no longer with us, so Gabriel Wasserman, a rabbinical student from YU walked down from Washington Heights and leyned for us the megilah. Gabriel is a brilliant and talented young man who is an excellent and meduyak (precise) baal koreh and also a trained sofer (he also writes his own blog under the name Mar Gavriel). When I wrote that he leyned the megilah, he really did. He wrote his own Megilas Shir ha-Shirim and after reciting the berakhos, read it beautifully and with passion. He is of course, quite different than Rabbi Kret. Rabbi Kret brought with him the experience of prewar Poland, and to some degree the Holocaust, in all that he did, and Gabriel is a young man who was raised here in America. Nevertheless, despite the differences, the religious fire was similar and it was an awesome experience to hear this amazing book be read.

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