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o matter how seasoned a performer is, he still appreciates hearing feedback about the effect his music has on people. And, says Yoni Lipshutz, violinist for the Breslover chassidic Simply Tsfat band, you never know how far a musical experience can take a person. He recalls an encounter after a concert in Philadelphia, which was a double testimony to the power of neginah. As the group finished playing a small kumzitz in a high school hall, Yoni recounts, a man wheeled himself over to the band to chat.

“I have to thank you for two reasons,” the man told them. “Firstly, your singing started my son on his journey home. I have a son who went off the derech a few years ago and planned to join the Marines. Eventually he was persuaded to join the IDF instead. One week I got a surprising call from him. ‘Dad, the army took us up to Tzfat for a cultural trip, and we went into this Breslov shul for Kabbalat Shabbat. We all had our guns strapped on, and they had their shtreimels and gold caftans, and they took our hands and sang and danced with us with so much love. I’m thinking maybe I’ll start keeping Shabbat again.’ Second, I am diabetic and four months ago I became a double amputee. Since then I’ve been in a state of hopeless depression… until tonight. Your music gave me a glimpse of light.”

 

(Originally featured in Mishpacha Issue735)