The Story behind the Song: Unsullied Soul

After Purim Simcha Leiner couldn’t get Shmuel Brazil’s “Elokai Neshamah” out of his head

Rosh Yeshivah Rav Shmuel Brazil has been composing songs for half a century and Simcha Leiner feels fortunate that one of those classic niggunim is on his new album Merakeid. Leiner shares how it happened.

“While being yotzei the mitzvah of ‘ad delo yada’ on Purim my good friend Yoni Kutner decided to sing me a song composed by his rebbi. He sang me a few bars of his version of Reb Shmuel’s ‘Elokai Neshamah.’ A few days later I couldn’t get the tune out of my head. I was trying to think where I heard it and remembered that Yoni sang it to me on Purim. I asked him if he could get me the original and the moment I heard the voice of Reb Shmuel singing it the real way I couldn’t pass it up.

“I called Reb Shmuel that same day and begged him for reshus to use his beautiful hartzige tune. It’s been a long time since he let anyone sing any of his songs but he graciously made an exception and let me use it — on condition that I made sure that the song before and after would be great since Chazal remark that ‘Tov l’tzaddik tov l’shcheino.’”

Visitors Welcome

Violinist Yoni Lipshutz learned how music opens hearts and homes

What have I learned from going on tour? A lot about hachnasas orchim for one thing. Our band Simply Tsfat has never stayed at cold sterile hotels — Jewish people around the world have opened up their homes to us in a fantastic display of giving when we travel to their communities to play our music. On one occasion our hosts were not even present for our stay — they had simply opened up their home to the three of us (me Yonatan Zarum and Eliyahu Reiter) and left everything we might need. To all our gracious hosts: thank you!


(Originally featured in Mishpacha Issue 690)

Simcha Leiner
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