With All My Soul I’d Cling to You

1 Iyar is the yahrtzeit of Reb Mendel of Horodok/Vitebsk, a prime talmid of the Maggid of Mezritch, and to whom the Alter Rebbe traveled after the Maggid’s passing for almost five years.

By Hershel Rosenbluh for Anash.org

Reb Mendel Horodoker was born in 5490/1730 to his father, Reb Moshe, who was a chossid of the Baal Shem Tov, and he became one of the foremost talmidim of the Maggid.

After the Maggid’s passing on 19 Kislev 5533/1772, Reb Mendelle, according to the Maggid’s instructions was appointed as the Rebbe of the Chassidim in White Russia. For almost five years, the Alter Rebbe traveled to him as a talmid (the Rebbe explains why he isn’t counted in the chain of our Rebbeim).

In 5537/1777, Reb Mendel decided to fulfill his dream and move to Eretz Yisroel. The Alter Rebbe joined him on his trip, planning on move there as well, but at Mohilev, Reb Mendel stopped him and told him he must return since chassidim in Russia need him. Fellow talmidim Reb Avrohom Kalisker and Reb Yisroel Polotsker continued with Reb Mendelle and they lived in Eretz Yisroel for the rest of their life and are buried there.

After relocating several times in Eretz Yisroel, Reb Mendelle settled in Tverya and passed away there on 1 Iyar in 5548/1788. His tziyun in the old cemetery in Tverya is one where thousands come to pour out their souls.

The following nigun, called hishtapchus hanefesh, the outpouring of the soul, was composed by Reb Mendelle. The Alter Rebbe later took the nigun and recomposed it to the words of Kol Dodi, becoming of his ten niggunim.

Audio courtesy of Heichel Neginah – sung by Rabbi Mendel Lipskier; Sherman Oaks, CA

ניגון השתפכות הנפש

וואלט איך האבען גילדענע פליגלען
וואלט איך צו דיר געפליען

וואלט איך האבען גילדענע רעדער
וואלט איך צו דיר געפארען

וואלט איך האבען טינט און פעדער
וואלט איך צו דיר געשריבן

וואלט איך האבען פערד און זאטל
וואלט איך צו דיר געריטען

וואלט איך האבען א גילדענעם פינגערל
וואלט איך צו דיר געגעבן

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