May 28, 2008


We learned from our teacher Rabbi Zalman Shachter-Shalomi that every part of Shabbat has its own flavor and rhythm. Friday night is linked to three-quarters rhythm, which is the rhythm of a waltz. It has circularity and tenderness like mama.

When we, Daphna and Reb Ruth, sat three years ago to plan Daphna's first Kabbalat Shabbat we wanted to follow this energetic direction and looked for a waltz tune for Lecha-Dodi. In order to grasp how a waltz and Lecha-dodi fit together we sang the Yiddish melody known as Tumbalalayika. That led to Daphna composing the melody we jokingly nicknamed “Advanced Tumbalalayika” AKA Daphna’s Lecha-dodi. This is the same tune that gets you up from your seats many Friday nights and fills our davvening space with many dancing couples, triads and circles.

As we went about recording more and more layers of this track, we found out that we just couldn't stay seated. Those of us who were not bound by the headset cables had to get up and dance . . .

This first clip is arguably the first sign of this malady. It was shot in February during our stay in the monastery. We were sitting among the wild flowers arranging our niggunim when Zechariah showed up with his warm brown winter cloak. It looked so majestic we couldn't resist trying it on.

Daphna put it on and simply had to whirl . . .

As far as we can recall (Father) Zechariah and (Rabbi) Ruth also danced on several occasions. However, none of these dances were ever captured on tape. Is this a plot meant to protect their respectful status in the community? Or maybe the reason is that the camera woman is usually Ruth???

Unfortunately for them, Daphna and Yoel did not merit such luck! Here they are during one of the early recordings:

The next clip captures a rare and unprecedented event. The Klezmer band (whom we will cover in another post) are recording in the studio. Daphna invites Leo, the technician, to dance. Leo, as you may have figured out by now, is not as crazy as we are - but after a moment of hesitation, he said yes!!!

Initially Leo attempts a Russian dance in honor of our Russian-Ukrainian Klezmer musicians, but eventually, he is also taken by the waltz.

Do try this at home!!!

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