Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Mark me down as one person who's not a fan of "A Jewish Star," the infamous competition that makes every kid and adult think he can sing - which is terrible in and of itself, until three guys in oversized chairs, two of which have no shaychus to neginah, tell them how awful they sound. I think the fact that this is what Lubavitchers and a "non-affiliated, unofficial" website which at the same time is pretty official as far as anybody is concerned, is doing and promoting is a disgrace. The idea that this is what's put on a pedestal for our kids is nothing short of an outrage. Call me intolerant and old-fashioned, see if I care. (and a party pooper too, if you so please.) I would not be surprised if they do a girl's version next year and tell those that have a problem with it "not to watch it..." This year Tzivos Hashem started a similar idea, where children submit videos and the video is then displayed on a certain unofficial Chabad website. I'm not sure what the winner gets, if there is a winner at all. "the power of the Jewish Child, they call it. Most kids submit videos of them singing some "Yeshiva Boys Choir" song that's been beaten to death, but what we have here is refreshingly different, and different in a good way, not the artsy way. I was skeptical about this TH competition, it seemed like more of the same, but what we just saw may be the redeeming factor, if only until the next kid does the standard YBC yelp.
Having said that - despite the fact that AJS is currently in full swing - I will stand up and cheer for Yisrolik Wilhelm - who happens to be my cousin - and tell all of you to do the same. Yisrolik bucked the trend in many ways here. For one, he didn't do the standard YBC tune, there's a lot to be said for that. Just for that he deserves our thanks. But then there's what he DID do, memorize, learn. In the old days it was expected for every bachur to memorize the first 12 perokim of Tanya Ba'al Peh, including the Shaar Blatt and the Hakdomoh, before his Bar Mitzveh. I'm not saying every kid actually did it, but it was expected. Nowadays we're happy if he knows the ma'amar. If he does a pshetel/pilpul in addition to that we're overjoyed. If he leins his parsha as well we're giddy with joy. Imagine the nachas that parents shep if their son learns the 12 perokim ba'al peh! Such is the nachas that Yisrolik's parents have. and we applaud the fact that he went and publicized it because he will influence others that are shayich to it to work hard and do it as well. If this competition was created only for Yisrolik to show the world (this is the world wide web, after all) that it CAN be done, and that the words of Tanya CAN be metaher the avir no matter where we go, DAYENU!
א גרויסן דיינק, ישראל'יק, זאלסט אויפוואקסן און זיין א חסיד, ירא שמים און א למדן