Sunday, 2 January 2011

Reb Volf and Neginah

Anyone who learnt in Montreal will remember how Reb Volf would be medayek in the singing of nigunim, often quoting the vort, that if you don't have a chush in neginah you can't have a chush in Chassidus, he would explain that it doesn't mean you have to have a good voice (which he didn't have) but the ability to differentiate the notes and understand the nigun. He had a repertoire of niggunim that are not usually sung anywhere else as well as original compositions of his own, the most famous of which was affectionately known as 'The Quebec'er Nigun'.

At the farbrengen of Lag B'omer 5711 the Rebbe motioned to Reb Volf and said to him 'Nu, du bist doch a baal menagen, zing a nigun.'

When I was in yeshiva I would hear rumours that Reb Volf played the violin and in the olden days would actually play at farbrengens. I was curious so I decided to ask him about it. Since he was known to to try and keep things private I can't be sure that what he told me was the whole truth, however, this is what he said. For reasons he didn't wish to share he was advised to learn music as a form of therapy so he took lessons in the violin, the lessons lasted for about 7 months after which he gave it up as he felt he didn't have the time, he said that his teacher felt that he learnt in 7 months what others would take years to grasp (the only time I had ever felt he was bragging) but since then he has never played.

If anyone has zichronos relating to neginah please share in the comments.

1 comment:

CheskyHo said...

You are right that reb cold did play the violin and early years he would bring it to farbrengens. It was the rebbe who told him to stop playing for a few reasons.

I heard this from a chosid who Ives in Montreal.