| The Moment |

Living Higher: Issue 895

While Joey supplied the music, Rav Galai was the one who supplied the song list

Rav Shimon Galai is one of the great tzaddikim and mekubalim of Eretz Yisrael, his fiery words a source of inspiration to thousands. A man of mysteries, few have insight into the full scope of Rav Galai’s spiritual prowess. But just last week, the Rav revealed what might be yet another one of his secrets — the singular spiritual power of music.

Rav Galai was on a chizuk trip in the US, and one of his stops was Far Rockaway’s Yeshiva Ateres Shimon, a yeshivah with which Rav Galai shares a special relationship. In the crowd of colorful shirts and equally colorful personalities, Rav Galai led an energetic and unifying farbrengen-style gathering, fired up by the inner spark that burns inside every Jewish soul. Throughout the event, Rav Galai shared messages of emunah, interspersed with uplifting music led by Reb Yosef “Joey” Newcomb, a rebbi in the yeshivah.

Yet while Joey supplied the music, Rav Galai was the one who supplied the song list. In the eyes of one onlooker, Rav Galai was “clearly accessing a higher realm,” as he personally instructed Joey which songs to sing and when. The list varied from the faith-instilling “V’afilu b’Hastarah” to a fast-paced Shabbos niggun and back to a poignant tefillah, each song selected for the moment, to give chizuk to a particular talmid or group of talmidim. The night wore on, but the elderly Rav Galai didn’t tire, his energy seemingly drawn from a world that defies time and space. He was the maestro, rushing over to Joey to tell him to switch to different words or start a new song, using the secret power of music to help all those gathered come one step closer to the ultimate Conductor.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 895)

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