Saturday, May 25, 2024

Acheinu Kol Bais Yisroel

Over the past two weeks, I, like many others, have viewed footage of numerous gatherings of tefillah and Tehillim all over the world for the kidnapped boys. I have been struck by the fact that at virtually every one of these asifos, the program concluded with the singing of Acheinu Kol Bais Yisroel. Those stirring words, recited during times of travail and suffering, were generally sung to the beautiful and stirring tune composed by R' Abie Rotenberg and first recorded on Lev V'Nefesh two decades ago. The words of Acheinu have practically become synonymous with Abie's remarkable composition.

I reached out to Abie for his reflections on this classic niggun and its immense popularity.


Abie says that while he generally cannot recall with any degree of accuracy what year a particular composition was written, he does remember that he wrote Acheinu in 1990, shortly before the album on which it appeared was produced.


Lev V’Nefesh was released right around the time the first Gulf War broke out,” shared Abie. “I always say that even a song needs mazel. So with Saddam threatening to launch scuds against our cities, the message and melody of Acheinu struck a chord and it became very popular.”


Abie doesn’t recall any particular reason for composing a tune to these words.


“As we say in Yiddish, es felt nisht kein tzaros,” observes Abie. “There are always more than enough problems. But I do remember that in this instance, the melody was written specifically for the words of Acheinu, not just as a tune for which the words were chosen later.”


It is gratifying for any composer to hear his song being sung, says Abie, especially if one gets the sense that the song has enabled others to reach a higher level of spirituality.


“I was very happy to hear that people have been singing Acheinu after tefillos for the boys,” he said. “We certainly need rachamei Shomayim, and if the urge to sing the words of Acheinu with my niggun enhances their kavanah, then I feel privileged to be a part of that.”


Abie, like all of us, has been deeply inspired by the families of these boys, who have demonstrated extraordinary bitachon and emunah, creating a phenomenal kiddush Hashem.


May that, in and of itself, merit the return of their loved ones safely,” added Abie. “No one will be happier than I when instead of Acheinu, we can all get together to sing and dance to Reb Shlomo’s ‘Yachad, Yachad,’ signifying the reuniting of these wonderful boys with their families.”


Hamakom yeracheim aleihem veyotzi’eim mitzarah lirvachah umei’afeilah le’orah umishibud l’geulah.



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