Sunday, July 17, 2011


The Gilded Gabbai, in his comments to the Big Gong's guest post, writes on "Puff, the past-his prime chazzan", who mis-applied the victory kaddish":

"Said chazan contends that Yossele Rosenblatt composed the "victory Kaddish" for use on regular Shabbatot."

a few comments:
1. Although the NF and his contemporaries refer to the said kaddish as "the victory kaddish", in fact, in liturgical writings, it is usually referred to as "the chassidic kaddish".
2. It was not composed by Yossele Rosenblatt but rather by Yankele Gottleib (1852– 1900), better known as Yankel der Heisereicher (Yankel the Horse Runner)  ---- you really have to wonder about that name.
3. Of the internet sources I have found, not one says that the melody was composed for weekly Shabbat use.
4. According to this blog, the melody was composed for the kaddish titkabel at the end of neilah but its use has now spread to all kaddishim titkabel during the yamim noraim.



The Gonging Gabbai said...

Would like to hear the Gilded Gabbai's view on where "Puff the Magic Chazzan" fits into the philosophies/approaches regarding how to run a shul as laid out in "Applying a new approach & the Youth Minyan" (

Anonymous said...

I just want to point out that the blog you link to quite often refers to "The Chazzan and his husband" (eg )

While this doesn't mean that his knowledge of chazzanut is wrong, I do not know if we should take everything he says as gospel (lehavdil).

Gilded Gabbai said...

I merely reported what Puff said, not what's true. In his mind, he's using a tune that's perfectly appropriate for Parshat Balak.
Gonging Gabbai - we're definitely selective participation, but exceptions are frequently made for things like yahrzeits. The Big Gong didn't comment on the Friday night chazan for Balak (early minyan), whom I call "Broken Luchot" because you can tell that he once knew how to daven, before he went tone deaf. Painful. He had yahrzeit that week, so what are you gonna do?

So where does Puff fit in? Even within the selective participation approach, there are different tiers. Let's say there are 5 qualities that go into being a good ba'al tefilla (vocal quality, nusach, tune selection, pace). Each of these elements can be graded along a separate scale (should I be the Sabermetric Gabbai?). Ideally, you want a 4-tool chazan, someone with solid scores on 4 out of 4, and those guys should be your regular stable. The guys with 0 or 1 out of 4 should never get up there. The question is about the 2s and 3s; 3s are usually wild card - a guy can be a great ba'al tefilla, just shleppy; or he might pick tunes that nobody's heard for 60 years. Occasionally you have the great singer who simply doesn't know nusach (or worse, can barely read Hebrew). A good gabbai should have a sense of when to run those guys out there. A guy with good nusach who moves quick but can't sing is the guy you send up there for atah yatzarta - he won't stumble over the words, the crowd got its fill of singing earlier, with hallel.
It's a lot like being the coach of a sports team, in a way.
The cardinal rule is, as Clint Eastwood said, "a man has got to know his limitations" - and if he doesn't, the gabbai has to know them for him.

Gilded Gabbai said...

That should be *4* qualities, not *5*.

the NF said...

In response to Anonymous -
the NusachFreak blog is an equal opportunity website where we we feel free to gong everything and anything regardless of faith (or lack thereof), race, colour, sex or sexual orientation.

I did notice that the said male Chazzan has a husband. So what?
If you want to take issue with the chazan it should be because he studied at HUC --- which does have a cantorial school ---- but based on the number of HUC trained cantors singing Hevanu Shalom Aleichem (and mispronouncing the words) during neilah, it's clear classical nusach is not made numero uno in the course.

Of the various sources I found online, his website most eloquently presented the history of Yankele the Horse and his Hasidic kaddish. If you'd like, google "Hasidic Kaddish, Yankel Gottleib" -- you can find plenty of "frum" websites that provide the same history.

Placido Etzioni said...

I believe that "Heizeriker" means "hoarse" rather than "horse-runner." Here are my sources:

Now, a hoarse chazzan may be problematic, but hardly as exciting as one who runs horses.

Dr D physician said...

Would you all like free membership to the 'get a life' club?

Alan Partridge said...

My favourite recording for the Victory Kaddish is here. The comments before and afterwards make it. I had a go last week on this and ballsed it up big time.

the NF said...