Baal Shem Tov, or Besht — the founder of Chasidism —
Shoshanat Yaakov is printed at the end of most Purim booklets (the kind people use to follow along with the megillah reading of Esther). Traditionally people launch right into Shoshanat Yaakov immediately after the brakhah that follows the megillah.
Listen to the version Reb Duvid knows
Listen to another version sung by Lubavitchers. You can see the words in Hebrew here.
You can find a whole batch of other nigunim for this song following this link from Mattisyahu Brown.
Transliteration and translation:
Shoshanat Yaakov, tzahala v'samechah bir'otam yachad t'khelet Mordechai!
Shoshanat Yaakov is a substantial rewrite of the theology of the book of Esther, inserting a divine "Thou" in a book where God does not appear once. Even Mordechai, the most pious figure of the story, doesn't come closer to recognizing God's presence than saying to Esther, "If you fall silent, help will come from another place."
"Place" is a rabbinic term for God of course, but that's not the p'shat, the natural meaning of this verse. The Talmud tried to shtup (stuff) God into the story by saying that the book of Esther was written with the help of divine knowledge – else how could the author(s) have known what Haman was saying "in his heart"? Another way of placing God into the story is followed by Kabbalah and Chasidus: shekhinah, the divine presence, is symbolized by Vashti and then Esther.
In a shul where everyone knows the song and breaks out singing right at the end of the megillah reading, Shoshanat Yaakov has another function: to firmly place the phrase "Cursed be Haman, Blessed be Mordechai" in everyone's mind, installing a never-ending melody-loop of these words—thereby making it even more challenging to reach the state called "Ad delo yada", where one doesn't know the difference between "Cursed be Haman" and "Blessed be Mordechai".
Thank you for linking to these two melodies. Chag purim sameach to you and yours!
Posted by: Rachel at March 20, 2008 9:50 PM
The first Shoshanat Ya'akov is sung by Breslovers (although I'm not sure they originated it). Don't think you can make anything out of how the BJ folks pronounced l'hodi'a. They aren't singing in an Ashkenazi accent. There is a Breslov version recorded by Andy Statman.
Otherwise, Good Purim!
Posted by: moshe aharon at March 20, 2008 10:52 PM
Dear Reb Dovid,
A Freilichen Purim!
Posted by: Mattisyahu Brown at March 5, 2009 3:21 PM
Design in progress © Rabbi David Mevorach Seidenberg 2006