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When We All Danced Together: The Stories Behind the Song

For many of us at The Siyum, nothing captures the mixture of feelings and emotions more than the dancing. This new song, When We All Danced Together, is performed by Baruch Levine, R’ Shloime Taussig, R’ Abish Brodt and Uri Davidi, Shmuli Rosenberg, CEO of fwd/NYC and CMO of The Siyum. We had the opportunity to talk to Shmuli about this song, and learned so much about The Siyum. 

What inspired you to create this song?

Shmuli: When mentioning The Siyum to different people in recent months, there is one sentiment that keeps coming up: the feeling that this (The Siyum) was the last big thing before Covid- everything since then feels like a blur. 

People are longing to recapture those amazing feelings of togetherness and hisorrerus that we felt then, as we all united to celebrate Torah. This song was created to be a kind of keepsake to reconnect us with those feelings and a reminder that we’ll always remain connected through The Daf; no matter what is going on in the world, it’s Torah that puts all of Klal Yisroel on the same page- literally.

Are there any specifics that you put into the lyrics that have special meaning? What were the feelings you tried to capture?

Shmuli: There were so many different feelings and emotions to capture; almost every line has a ‘history.’ 

The first verse was inspired by one of the most personally moving moments I experienced by The Siyum. 

Part of my role was being around on the stage, preparing and organizing the speakers. 

My rebbe, HaRav Dovid Feinstein Zt”l, was sitting on the stage wrapped in a scarf and heated blanket against the freezing cold. I asked him a few times if he wanted to go inside for a bit, as there was a room on the stage available with amenities for the Rabbonim, a place for them to get out of the cold and warm up. But Reb Dovid turned down my offer every time. Finally, a family member of his asked me to please insist that R’ Dovid go in.  But R’ Dovid firmly declined, “I don’t want to miss even one moment of this Siyum”, he explained. “I don’t know if I will ever get to see such a ma’amad again.”

I was awed by his reply. Here was the elderly Gadol Hador, anxious not to miss a minute, for this might be his last Siyum- while simultaneously I could see many young boys, excitedly drinking in every minute of their first Siyum!

It struck me then how Torah transcends time, connecting not only across different demographics of people, but across any age gap! Torah is for every Yid, no matter how many years old or young you are! That’s what I expressed in these lines:

Young and old,

Brave the cold,

Our future meets our past,

For one his first, and another this may be his last.

The next verse  was also borne out of an experience I had as an organizer of The Siyum. 

Part of my role was to meet with each of the speakers for a few minutes in the week preceding The Siyum, to work out the technicalities of their speech and any other requirements they might have.

Speaking to Rabbi Frand gave me insight into why Rabbi Frand’s speech was always so memorable, with the most quotable quotes. Who doesn’t remember that “Perfect is the enemy of good”? It’s not a coincidence that we all remember that so vividly. Rabbi Frand shared with me how he puts in an enormous amount of time and effort into preparing his speech for The Siyum, because he feels a tremendous achrayus to inspire people. He has gotten feedback from previous Siyumim about how his speech impacted people’s entire lives- a young boy who was inspired to finish the whole of Shas Mishnayos, people who started learning The Daf and that transformed their whole lives…and many more.

“When preparing for The Siyum, I constantly daven for Siyatta Dishmaya,” Rabbi Frand related. “I daven that Hashem should put the right words in my mouth- words that will hit the mark, that will inspire people and that people will take to heart and internalize.” And indeed, hearing Rabbi Frand at The Siyum declaring “Do not let perfect be the enemy of the good” truly hit the mark and entered people’s hearts. It was powerful then, and even more so as we now look back and B”H we can see no drop off in learning, even as we are well into our fourth Masechta- as Artscroll have reported, there were as many Gemaras sold for Eiruvin as there were for Brochos!

Also, looking back you see the Hashagcha that this was the particular message that Rabbi Frand gave over at the beginning of 2020. He addressed the reality of a Daf HaYomi learner- to keep learning every day consistently, whatever is happening around you. And this became a message of chizuk appreciated this year more than ever, as Klal Yisroel and Daf HaYomi encountered difficulties never before seen. I thought that the Siyatta Dishmaya in this is remarkable.

And so if there was one thing that needed to be captured as an anthem of the siyum, it was Rabbi Frand’s timely message.

Some daffim I remember, others I forgot,

No matter what I give it my best shot,

Through work, vacation,

And obligations,

Challenges withstood,

I won’t let perfect be the enemy of good.

Wow, hearing the backstory makes the song even more stirring and meaningful! How did you choose who would sing the new song?

Shmuli: It was an obvious choice that those who inspired us at The Siyum should be the ones singing the song now, as something to recapture all that hisorrerus. I feel it was tremendous zechus to work together with these singers- who really put their heart and souls into inspiring us at the siyum – and now again to put together this emotive production. I had the opportunity to work with Gerhsy Moskowitz, my co-producer on putting together the right vocalists jst like we worked together for The Siyum. Baruch Levine, R’ Shloime Taussig, R’ Abish Brodt and Uri Davidi did an amazing job and I’m sure they will inspire many. Of course, many other singers, including Shoime Gertner who performed at The Siyum wanted to join, but with the current Covid-19 situation in England it wasn’t possible. 

Finally, what made you take the extra step of adding Yiddish and Hebrew lyrics?

Shmuli: One thing is definite: the Torah is for all of Klal Yisroel, and The Siyum was a celebration for all of Klal Yisroel. So let this song also be! And, of course, there’s no one better than Miriam Israeli, the renowned lyricist to help with capturing the right feeling in both those languages. We hope that it will speak to everyone in their own language and help to recapture the feelings of passion and love for Torah, spurring us on to reach the goals we set for ourselves last year.

Song Credits:

Produced by: fwd/NYC and Gershy Moskowitz

Written and Composed by: Shmuli Rosenberg

Vocals: Baruch Levine, Shloime Taussig, Abish Brodt, Uri Davidi 

Arranged by: Shmuli Rosenberg

Drums: Brian Delaney

Bass: Conrad Korsch

Guitar: Brent Mason

Piano: Shmuli Rosenberg

Strings by 24 Violins 

Hebrew and Yiddish Lyrics by Miriam Israeli 

Mixed and Mastered at fwd/NYC 

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