Baal Shem Tov, or Besht — the founder of Chasidism —
Umei'ushpizin – a Satmar song for the sukkah
During Sukkot a few years ago I made an emergency trip to visit my mother Ronnie, a"h, in South Jersey. Needing a Sukkah to ushpiz and leishev and eat in, I stopped by the Chabad synagogue in Cherry Hill. There were no Chabadniks there, but there were two Satmar families and one Vizhnitz family using the sukkah -- about 20 kids in all I think.
I asked the combined families if they could teach me a song for Sukkot, and I got a song from Yoel (Satmar, as you may guess) about the Ushpizin Ila'in. It's truly lovely. Here are the words, in case you don't understand a very heavy Eastern European Ashkenazi/Yiddish accent, like most of us ("oo" for us is "ee" for them for example):
וּמֵאוּשְׁפִּיזִין עִלָּאִין אוּשְׁפִּיזִין דִּמְהֵימְנוּתָא תִּהְיֶינָה אָזְנַי קַשּׁוּבות רַב בְּרָכות וְתֵיטִיב לָנוּ הַחֲתִימָה וּתְזַכֵּנוּ לֵישֵׁב יָמִים רַבִּים בַּעֲבודָתֶךָ וּבְיִרְאָתֶךָ
And through the exalted (spiritual) guests, guests of faith, may my ears be listening/receptive (to) the multitude of blessings, and may You make the sealing (of the New Year) go well for us, and may You grant us merit to dwell many days in Your service and in Your awe.
The more common version of this liturgy reads oznekha --"may Your ears", but oznai can also be found. The liturgy also reads, "...to dwell many days on the land, holy land, in Your service and in Your awe", and I think it would be good for our time that the land to be included, like this: zakeinu leisheiv yamim rabim al ha'adamah ba'avodatekha, ba'avodatekha uv'yiratekha.
I also worked out a way to use this setting for a Tu Bishvat song. Because it would be a shame to use this nigun for only one week a year! Here is my suggestion, using words from the original Tu Bishvat seder:
בְּכֹחַ סְגוּלַּת אֲכִילַת הַפֵּירוֹת
In the course of learning this nigun, also learned that every year, Chabad arranges a day during Chol Hamo'ed (the middle days of Sukkot) to go to a local water park (meaning, they set up a separate time for men and for women), and it's a big enough deal that people from many different Chasidic sects make their way down from Crown Heights with their kids to participate.
Going to a water park, visiting a waterfall, or any water adventure, is of course a perfect thing to do on Sukkot, when we are thinking about water and praying for rain.
Yoel's chaver also asked me to point out to everyone that Chabad and Satmar are getting along fine, and that what matters is the achdut (unity) of Am Yisrael (the Jewish people).
Design in progress © Rabbi David Mevorach Seidenberg 2006