Thursday, April 4, 2013
Is there such a thing as a "JEWISH TUNE"? Can a gentile song be "converted"?
In light of recent banning of specific Jewish Music and Singers by Orthodox Rabbis and the “Committee for Jewish Music” founded in Bene Brak which gives Kosher seals of approval to Music they deem Jewish, the question arises; what is Jewish Music?
Above is a surprising view held by the great Rabbi Yisrael Moshe Hazan, In the first responsa in his Shu"t Kerach Shel Romi, in response to a question asked whether it is permissible to use non-Jewish tunes for Jewish prayers.
Here is a piece of the Teshuva" AND I TESTIFY IN THE NAME OF THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH, That when I was in the great city of Smyrna (Izmir), may god protect it, I saw the famous Rabbis and Cantors, that were great singers on the correct musical scales, and at their head, RABBI AVRAHAM HAKOHEN ARIAS z"l. And for the musical scale of the High Holidays, which needs great submission, they would go to the churches of the Christians behind the curtains on their holidays to hear and learn from them their voices of songs of submission that breaks one's heart. They would make from these tunes Kaddish and Kedushot on a wondrous scale........
A view in to old printed texts of Jewish Songs, such as the legendary זמירות ישראל - רבי ישראל נגארה from the very first edition on (1586 Safed) we see Arabic, mostly Turkish tunes listed as the tunes that the songs should be sung with. Through recent years, especially with Jewish Songbooks published in the Middle East, even to songs written by great Rabbis, we see every song introduced with it's gentile tune as the one to sing it to.
Apparently, throughout history, Jewish Music to Jews was nothing more than Jewish words to gentile tunes, a stark contrast to what people are being led to believe today.