Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Happy Sukkoth! Vizhnitz On YouTube!

4 d'Hol HaMo'ed Sukkoth 5770

This is the kind of post you would more likely see on Vos Iz Neias? or Yeshiva World News. than on Esser Agaroth. In fact, they have certainly covered issues related to the role of the Internet, and associated news and controversies, in Haredi communities.

When a Vizhnitzer friend of mine was over for Shabbath, in Tapu'ah several months ago, he showed me the Vizhnitzer YouTube Channel.

Nu? Who knew that there was a Vizhnitzer YouTube Channel? Isn't the Internet assur (forbidden)?

I should explain that my friend is from a major European city, and has an academic father, hardly the stereotypical hassid from an insulated community. The friends he brought with him, one from Borough Park and one from Europe as well, were also no strangers to the Internet. They were more interested in seeing the latest, music video from Lipa Shmeltzer than movies nor anything unseemly (has wehallilah!).

So, "What was Vizhnitz doing on YouTube?" I asked.

(I'm half Litvak, half Galicianer, with periodic delusions of being Yemenite. So, I don't know from Vizhnitz.)

He told me the story about the various mahloqoth (disagreements) which have plagued the Vizhnitz community the last couple of generations, and then came to the story of the current situation in Vizhnitz-B'nei B'raq. The Vizhnitzer-B'nei B'raq Rebbe (His brother is the Vizhnitzer-Monsey Rebbe, thus the additional of the city for clarification.) made shalom with his first son, after a long period of estrangement. Supporters of the rebbe's second son claimed that the decision to support the first son as "heir" was made after the rebbe started to become senile.

The Vizhnitzer YouTube Channel was started as a way to demonstrate to the public that the rebbe, indeed, had all of his faculties, and was making well-thought out decisions. Various videos were posted on line, for all to see, and to judge for oneself.

Now the channel includes everything, from speeches and simhas to a strong warning against dangerous activities on Purim. It is a good example of for how the Internet can be used constructive purposes, to disseminate information, to dispel rumors, and to spread simhah.

For some reason, I haven't been feeling very well this Sukkoth. I remembered my friend showing me the Vizhnitz Channel. So I decided to check it out. I haven't made it to any Simhath Beth HaSho'evah celebrations yet. But, with YouTube, I was able to bring them to into my apartment, and my spirits were immediately raised.

I'll share one of the videos from the channel here, in honor of Hag HaSukkoth. It's from Motza'ei Shabbath.and a includes a good sampling of nigunim (melodies). (Don't worry. The sound is fixed after the first 30 seconds.)

Hag Same'ah!

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