Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Pop Star to Torah~A Rabbi Brings Light Through Music

I am a lover of Jewish and Israeli music and keep an ear open for new songs and singers.

Here is an interesting story about a French singer, who was known as Gilberto (Aaron) Sitbon

Thirty years ago, while in his twenties, Gilbert Sitbon was at the height of his career when he decided to turn away from music to study Torah full time. A major decision on his part, as he was one of the top singers in France with many top songs to his credit. His records had also gained popularity all through Europe.

Sitbon became a Chabad Hassid and began spending his time between France and Jerusalem, Israel. From the time he made the choice to study, he put his guitar away. Over the years he consistently refused all offers to return to the music industry.

As the story is told, Rabbi Sitbon couldn't sleep one night. He kept hearing a beautiful tune playing over and over in his mind, and he just could not forget it. He knew the tune! In fact, it was one that had been originally composed by another French singer, and his friend, Michel Fogan.

Still unable to sleep, Sitbon found his old guitar in the basement and began to sing the words for Adon Olam to the tune. The result is the beautiful video below. (For those who are interested the lyrics follow the video). The video itself, follows the rabbi as he uncovers his guitar, looks back on old memories, then follows his daily life in Jerusalem.

Adon Olam is the final prayer of the Musaf service on Shabbat morning and Festivals. It is also found in the bedtime prayers and is recited on one’s deathbed. The next to last line of Adon Olam is a request that God watch over one’s soul as they sleep. The conclusion of Adon Olam mentions God’s presence and ability to bring reassurance to the people. The piyut is supposedly composed by Rabbi Shlomo ben Yehuda ibn Gvirol, but many sources claim the author is unknown.

Quoting from Arutz 7, Rabbi Sitbon said:
"The piyut (liturgical poem) Adon Olam is a piyut about accepting the yoke of the Creator's kingdom; He is the one and only, the helper and redeemer...If a single Jew finds the connection to his Creator through the song, that will be my reward."

I think many Jews will indeed find a connection, and many more will be drawn to this beautiful tune as Rabbi Sitbon takes his place among the observant Jews who bring light to the world through music. Welcome back Rabbi Aharon Sitbon~May you continue to light up the world with your music!

Rabbi Aharon Sitbon Sings Adom Olam ~אדון עולם - אהרון סיטבון

אַדוֹן עוֹלָם

Master of the Universe
The Lord of the Universe who reigned before anything was created.
When all was made by his will He was acknowledged as King.

And when all shall end He still all alone shall reign.
He was, He is, and He shall be in glory.

And He is one, and there's no other, to compare or join Him.
Without beginning, without end and to Him belongs diminion and power.

And He is my G-d, my living G-d. to Him I flee in time of grief,
and He is my miracle and my refuge, who answers the day I shall call.

To Him I commit my spirit, in the time of sleep and awakening,
even if my spirit leaves, G-d is with me, I shall not fear.

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