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Monday, 18 Av, 5779
  |  August 19, 2019
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    What the Musician is Thinking

    From the COLlive inbox: A musician responds to the op-ed "What Are We Thinking?" and shares an interesting fact. Full Story

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    hi Mazel tov
    Guest
    hi Mazel tov

    i didn’t read all the comments from last article however i think the point Rabbi Shusterman was making was to the parents to make sure the music is appropriate for chassidm. He wasn’t at all blaming the musician if i remmber correctly. Of course the musician plays according what the payer wants him to play.

    This is beautiful!
    Guest
    This is beautiful!

    Thanks for sharing! Here is Benshimon again, yay!

    Great piece
    Guest
    Great piece

    What a logical and reasonable article. It’s always enlightening hearing from those actually involved in making it happen.

    dont agree..
    Guest
    dont agree..

    The client is not always right.. so as per the above thinking if the “client” asked the caterer at the wedding to serve non cholov yisroel.. then that would be ok? he is paying so do as they please!

    perfect!
    Guest
    perfect!

    we love benshimon! you rock.

    great response!
    Guest
    great response!

    Sounds like a real mentch!

    to no. 4
    Guest
    to no. 4

    i dont think the caterer would want to mess up his keilim
    but i did hear from Rabbi S. Jacobson episode 41 that upon entering a restaurant the mashgiach advised him not to eat there so perhaps one is permitted to work in an establishment for pay even if not “kosher?” I don’t know, a shaala for a rov.

    From back  home
    Guest
    From back home

    Fitchke is the best. A tayere zeese neshoma who plays beautiful music and puts his heart into it.
    The nicest person and wonderful musician. We are proud to say “we knew him when he just began”. And he played chassidishe nigunim at all our simchas and we danced the night away

    to #4
    Guest
    to #4

    Client decides the music and food – as long as the food is CHOLOV YISROEL. So he can only be right if the food is under the hashgacha.

    Benshimon is amazing
    Guest
    Benshimon is amazing

    He played at my wedding and he was such a mentsch!

    Israeli music
    Guest
    Israeli music

    I’ve had only good experience with Benshimon even though we did a lot of Israeli sephardy music, he did exactly what we wanted and is such a mentch

    response?
    Guest
    response?

    I thought Rabbi shusterman was complaining that so many so called lubavitchers aren’t so interested in lubavitch anymore.

    Yossi A
    Guest
    Yossi A

    Fitche.
    I DID comment to the original op-ed piece. My comments were in line with YOUR op ed.
    HOWEVER. why cant the music be toned down a bit?
    You can play whatever is requested, but why so loud?

    well said
    Guest
    well said

    Fitchke , you’re the best!
    Very positive! Continued success!

    Who says don't pay musician
    Guest
    Who says don't pay musician

    Thanks for writing. I also thought it was off when people said Don’t pay the musician. Benshimon does our weddings and is such a mensch I can’t imagine anyone saying those words to him. Also he plays exactly what you want.

    Rabbi Gershon Schusterman
    Guest
    Rabbi Gershon Schusterman

    To clarify the spelling and the name of the original article’s author.

    Because his children are mentioned in this response, it’s a good idea to know who the author is referring to.

    In addition, there are musicians that are not the same as BenShimon and (as mentioned in the comments if the last article) there are different guests that arrive at different wedding with different personalities and dancing styles.
    So it’s not always the band that creates the style of dancing.

    on the mark!
    Guest
    on the mark!

    precisely what I stated that occurred by our son’s wedding with Moshe Okonuv, he played Niggunim only as per the request of chosson and kallah with a couple of Piamenta songs that were given prior approval!!!

    Well said!
    Guest
    Well said!

    I personally hired Fitche for my simcha and would do so again. It was lebedig and fun and he listened to all our requests!

    people don't get it!
    Guest
    people don't get it!

    There’s plenty of nice music appropriate (even if your not just doing Lubavitcher niggunim) It’s the way the people dance and act! The men coming into the ladies to dance is unheard of in other frum circles! (Not talking about a mitzva tance which is done in an aidel way). Years ago, there was nothing as beautiful and lebedik as a Lubavitcher wedding, lets try to keep it that way!

    Side note
    Guest
    Side note

    Besides for being a great musician, fitche is also a great learning director #CGIMontreal5762

    Fitche!!!
    Guest
    Fitche!!!

    Fitche you were my counselor in camp many moons ago. All day long you played freilach nigunim in the bunk house.

    Yasher Koach
    Guest
    Yasher Koach

    BenShimon is an amazing musician to work with, always a mench, always willing to spend the hours working to make his client happy. Thank you for this honest clear op ed!

    Well written
    Guest
    Well written

    This was a very informing op-ed. Laying down the fact as they are, leaving it to each reader for their own personal opinion if they do or don’t like it. May there be more op-eds like this one, giving the information just as it is without mixing personal feeling, unless this is made clearly that these are personal feelings and subjective. This would allow for better decisions and more accurate judgment.

    To the best of my memory this would be the first time that I have benefited from an op-ed.

    Sincerely,
    Anonymous.

    DISAGREE to an extent
    Guest
    DISAGREE to an extent

    I was once very impressed with the barber on Kingston Ave. Mr. Chazan, a person that was getting a haircut asked the barber to trim his beard. The barber REFUSED. Even though the “client is boss” and was DEMANDING it, the barber refused.
    So the client may be the boss, but you can refuse him service and he can decide not to be your client.

    Superb
    Guest
    Superb

    The one thing I will always remember about my wedding in regards to design and services is Benshimon, he was literally outstanding! And everything he says here is on the point!

    I hope an article comes out about some of the not mature photographers who think they are the boss and do not listen to the compromises made before the wedding!

    TOO LOUD MUSIC is llike an aveirah...
    Guest
    TOO LOUD MUSIC is llike an aveirah...

    (Not referring to Benshimun, who wrote the articl) Too loud – you (band) are responsible for any hearing loss that incurs – because you told anyone who complainsthat it’s too loud – “well, that’s what everyone WANTS”. And I say – this is a case of “The emperor has no clothes” – in the children’s moshul, everyone lied and said the emperor’s suit was beautiful, very eidel and fine, so fine you could hardly see the thread – but one little boy cried out “But the emperor has no clothes!” The truth is everyone suffers from this misconception by band… Read more »

    great op-ed
    Guest
    great op-ed

    well written. Benshimon explained the process perfectly. The families making the wedding decide what music will be played at the wedding. And the musicians play exactly what was requsted, they don’t do their own thing.

    Loud music
    Guest
    Loud music

    The reason the music at weddings are loud is because the gemoro says that one who gladdens a chosson is “zoche L…chamisha kolos”, (merits 5 sounds).

    Survey do it
    Guest
    Survey do it

    You should fill out that survey at the end of the article btw there’s a question about volume

    an answer from Rav Marlow a'h many years ago
    Guest
    an answer from Rav Marlow a'h many years ago

    Thanks for the great discussion from Rabbi Schusterman and the reply from the musician. Its bringing a needed awareness. As a part time musician, I’ve played at a number of events. As I used to live in Phoenix 30 years ago, some of the potential clients were not frum. So I would ask about the dancing being separate. I asked Rav Marlow if I could play. He said “no”. I asked “why not , the people will hire someone else ,and how can the caterer take the job being that folks will be doing inappropriate dancing ?” His answer was… Read more »

    CHILL
    Guest
    CHILL

    And all you elders of CH wonder why the youth are straying?!? Stop obsessing over the volume of the wedding and look at your young girls and boys who are getting disgusted with being told how everything they do is WRONG!! Stop reprimanding everyone just because we don’t do things the way you used to in ‘Russia’. Plenty of this garbage was going on before gimmel tammuz too. And what are y’all doing to HELP the young of CH besides sitting on the sidelines ‘tsking’ away because we’re clearly not doing everything the way YOU did before gimmel tammuz. Very… Read more »

    SUPER SUPER MENTCH!
    Guest
    SUPER SUPER MENTCH!

    Fitche,
    You played at our weddings, your music is great, more than anything we remember your out of the ordinary MENTCHLICHKEIT, kindness, consideration, cooperation, caring….you go beyond your call of duty! I am happy that my children saw these Middos! You are a talented musician, but more than that, you have a heart of gold! Hashem should bless you and your family with everything you need!

    volume
    Guest
    volume

    I am not referring to any one musician in particular, whoever this applies to, I hope it will be taken to heart!

    I have to agree with the comments about the loud volume. When it gets too loud, it’s not music, it’s noise, and very uncomfortable for me and I know for others!! I’m sure many are aware, that different people tolerate different levels of sound, so even if the Baal Simcha can tolerate high levels that doesn’t mean that there aren’t guests having a hard time.

    Hatzlacha Rabba and may you continue making Chassanim and Kallah’s happy always!

    very well done
    Guest
    very well done

    thank you was very touched by the kallah”s text message and thank you #30 for the interesting information.

    im not old but still..
    Guest
    im not old but still..

    The music is too loud.
    Nothing to do with chassidish, but its really awkward when youre trying to have a conversation with someone
    and hurts my ears

    like the posititivity!!!
    Guest
    like the posititivity!!!

    Thank you for your article. You speak a lot of sense, and I liked the positive upbeat tone — looking for the positive in our community — and finding it, and mentioning it –We ALL have to do more of that. Speak positive, and it will bring out the positive.
    Thank you for your wise words, and hatzlocha in your Avodas hakodesh (being mesameach chassan vekallah — and their families!)

    LOUD MUSIC AT OUR CHASUNAS
    Guest
    LOUD MUSIC AT OUR CHASUNAS

    How right you are about the loud music which is never good for one’s hearing, and causes me and many others to simply leave the simcha earlier than we would otherwise. Not to mention that many young babies and kids’ hearing are affected as well as adults. Please take note of this at your next simcha, and may we all celebrate only smachot while waiting for the coming of Moshiach for the real true simcha and brachah ad bli dai.

    Benchimon is right !!!!
    Guest
    Benchimon is right !!!!

    I experienced it first hand, I hired Fitche for my simcha and was a pleasure to deal with . I had attended a simcha that he was playing at the night before my simcha , I had a flipppppp . I was in a panic I did not want the music he was playing at my own simcha , really not my style . I went over to him to ask him what is this , this is not what I want .and he said to me don’t worry , I know . This is what this family asked for… Read more »

    client
    Guest
    client

    Benshimon played at my wedding, there were no issues at all. He understood the style of music we were going for, and he listened to the mood of the crowd and played along with it. A great time was had by everyone at our wedding. My only disappointment was that someone he hired to play the saxohphone (or some sort of instrument) at our chuppah was HORRIBLE and didnt even carry a tune. but he himself is great at what he does

    fitchkeh!!!!!
    Guest
    fitchkeh!!!!!

    We go back along time
    we appreciate your mentshlichkeit.hartskeit in the music.your professionalism.and everything about u

    Hatslocho!!!

    very well written
    Guest
    very well written

    Thank you for a very well written, encouraging and respectful op-ed. Its encouraging to hear how people value chassidishe weddings.
    We had Choni Milecki who did a superb job and also very strongly stuck to our preferences. Our wedding was absolutely beautiful lively and fun!
    Thank you to the responsible and mentschlich musicians out there who understand their affect on the wedding.

    too loud
    Guest
    too loud

    I agree. The music is too loud. I can’t speak to or hear anyone… Its ridiculous!

    a nigun is a nigun
    Guest
    a nigun is a nigun

    It could be played like Nichoach or it could be played like heavy metal rock. Tune is the same, but the effect is polar opposite. I have heard both types and many variations in between. The more ‘ modern’ renditions tend to bring out wilder dancing.

    Out of town wedding
    Guest
    Out of town wedding

    We flew in fitche Benshimon to our out of town weddings even though for the same price we could have gotten 4 local musicians. BEST decision ever. He MADE the wedding. Good balance between nigunim, Yemenite stuff for some of our guests and Israeli oldies for the rest, but each time balanced by nigunim.

    Benshimon is THE VERY VERY BEST
    Guest
    Benshimon is THE VERY VERY BEST

    When Benshimon plays I just have to dance and can’t stop.
    He is the best in all areas… mentchlichkeit, aidelkeit included!

    A serious issue
    Guest
    A serious issue

    It can’t be stressed enough. The music at weddings is a danger and a hazard. This is not about chassidishkeit- this is a proven cause of hearing loss. The decibel level destroys the delicate hair cells in the ears and causes permanent hearing loss. It is irresponsible for musicians to shrug their shoulders and say this is what the clients want. It is unethical. A quality musician doesn’t need to rely on volume! Wake up folks and smell the coffee- there’s going to be a lot of deaf people around in a few years and all in the name of… Read more »

    Too loud
    Guest
    Too loud

    I’ve stopped going to weddings! It used to be a social even but now it’s each person on their own , prancing around shrieking and stamping their feet. No chassanah dances ( obviously I’m talking about the women’s side)
    What happened to dinner music? Why the first dance goes on for over half an hour… The challah looks hot sweaty and about to faint ! NO CLASS anymore!!

    Mother
    Guest
    Mother

    My musician said, I will play hat kid want, until I said no pay for this type of music and he changed

    Wondering
    Guest
    Wondering

    I like comment #30. I think a lot of problems could be solved if we follow the Rebbe’s directives of having a Rav and a Mashpia. I am wondering if the people who commented against, “What are we thinking?” and also some of the younger generation, mentioned in comment #31 have a Rav and mashpia. This was one of the Rebbe’s last requests – are we arguing against each other on these posts or are we waking up to the Rebbe’s call and getting a Rav and a mashpia? For anyone reading this out there who doesn’t have a Rav… Read more »

    nig
    Guest
    nig

    Playing nigunim like nichoach is NOT in the spirit of a wedding. The musicians are talented because they make the nigunim danceable. Please don’t start commenting about how nigunim get too wild. come on!! Give us a BREAK!

    advise for too louders
    Guest
    advise for too louders

    At a simcha I met a friend that was wearing ear plugs because he felt the music was too loud. He said he always brings along a pair and pops them in when the dancing starts and the musicgets loud.

    You might want to try it. A simple solution that can make every one happy!

    Nice!
    Guest
    Nice!

    You’re such a positive person Benshimon!!

    Muscians do what they are told
    Guest
    Muscians do what they are told

    I had a rather unfortunate experience at my own wedding. My inlaws are not religious and out of nowhere some goyish song started playing. I was too tired to think anything of it only to find out later that my inlaws had requested it so they could dance together. I was fuming, I wish we could just have a set standard because then that never would have happened.

    to #9 venues should work with bands
    Guest
    to #9 venues should work with bands

    A list of songs to choose from and a mechanism to approve [or disapprove]New ones similar to your comment about choosing the menu with cholov yisroel products, here choose the songs on the menu.

    Too Loud!!
    Guest
    Too Loud!!

    There are Apps that do a great job accurately measuring sound decibels. At a recent wedding, standing at the opposite end of the hall as the music station, the app registered a steady 95 decibels (“factory machinery at 3 feet”)! For comparison, at Simchas Bais Hashoeiva, holding my phone directly in front of the large speakers meant for a larger, outdoor crowd, it registered a ‘mere’ 94 decibels.
    According to government guidelines for permissible exposure times, 95 decibels begin causing PERMANENT damage after just one hour of exposure. Think about that. Children are affected even sooner.

    To 53
    Guest
    To 53

    I’m sorry for ur experience but how could u be fuming if u knew you were marrying into a non frum family. Surely ur wife would be far happier if u would just be chilled about these things knowing the reason because I’m sure u are going to have many more such instances during ur life having inlaws who aren’t frum and I’m sure shimon bayis is far more important then a goyshe song ( or likes) popping up here and there! I really do feel for u though ….life is complex and even tho I’m ffb I’ve learnt over… Read more »

    MUSIC
    Guest
    MUSIC

    Fitche! I think you’re doing a great job at what you do. Keep on doing your good work! Taking into consideration what the family wants as a whole is very impressive, after all it’s a family simcha

    All the best

    Impressed with Benshimon
    Guest
    Impressed with Benshimon

    As other people mentioned, I also cannot tolerate the booming loud music at weddings. I come out of weddings hoarse and with a headache and do not enjoy the music at all. Before my wedding I approached one of the top musicians in Crown Heights and discussed that I did not want booming music. He outright REFUSED to lower the volume. He said if we hired him he would play as he pleased. He stated that this is his reputation and if the music isn’t booming people will say he’s not a good musician. I was so shocked and appalled… Read more »

    a set standard is the best
    Guest
    a set standard is the best

    I know the musicians may be reading this and thinking that it’s impossible.
    Nothing is impossible when our main goal in life it’s to do what Hashem wants from us.
    Oholey torah razag musicians mashpiim etc should all get together with rabbonim and set standards.
    It’s easier than what you think.
    It’s the right thing.
    It may be your nissaion miloshon haromo as well

    I suggest this musician that took the initiative to write this articleshould take the initiative as well and contact rabbi Shusterman to get the ball rolling.
    Hatzlocho

    Too loud!!!
    Guest
    Too loud!!!

    Once again, from a young adult…the music is way too loud! You can have the same effect and same amount of simcha with the music a few decibels lower. Not normal! Can’t talk to people, and I stop enjoying the wedding a few minutes in only because of the loudeness of the music! So ridiculous . So many of my young friends agree with me. All I want to do is just leave the hall to give my poor ears a break. To potential wedding makers….. Take heed …..many of your guests leave way early Bc of the noise, when… Read more »

    To 53:
    Guest
    To 53:

    Don’t fume. It says that if you’re angry it’s like you did Avoda Zara.

    Musicians say THEY WILL but THEY DONT
    Guest
    Musicians say THEY WILL but THEY DONT

    FACT: Not only at our children’s wedding but at numerous of our friends and relatives weddings as well, the ‘PLEASE LOWER the VOLUME’ request was never truly complied with –
    at least not to the satisfaction level of the client.

    that text you got from the girl
    Guest
    that text you got from the girl

    wow! Hashem should bless her, that’s beautiful!!

    definitely too loud
    Guest
    definitely too loud

    The music is obnoxiously loud. Can’t speak anyone and you can feel your hearing deteriorating.

    Irrelevant article
    Guest
    Irrelevant article

    This whole article sounds like an opportunistic advertorial. If the intent is to defend musicians for doing their job, the original article clearly stated, “The musicians and bands are hired professionals; they will play exactly as asked. The one signing the band’s contract must put in it, in writing, what they do want and what they don’t want. They carry the reasonability [sic] for the resulting atmosphere and dances.”

    Another approach when in an uncomfortable position...
    Guest
    Another approach when in an uncomfortable position...

    if your in-laws long for at least some wedding music they feel familiar with and you want to make them feel they matter to you,perhaps you could accommodate them a bit by asking your musician for a wedding tape of classic Israeli songs,klezmer music, or the old but beautiful Yiddish songs that are familiar to most Jews and let your in-laws choose a few pieces they like.( You might even include an American classic or two like Sunrise, Sunset.) Your guests would probably understand and your in-laws would see that they are important to you, no matter the differences between… Read more »

    Vol-u-me
    Guest
    Vol-u-me

    Always loved Benshimons music, only thing I’d say is that I’ve found it too loud many times. I’ve heard/seen this at weddings out of CH using their band too (from family of bride/groom, not even guests). Just something to take note of.

    Thanks for being a mench!!
    Guest
    Thanks for being a mench!!

    Thanks for the wonderful article and not being so cranky #nomorekvetching

    who is paying?
    Guest
    who is paying?

    So nice of the girl who magnanimously agreed to play certain music to “Make her father happy”. Who is writing the check at the end of the evening?

    fitche !!!
    Guest
    fitche !!!

    ONLY. THE. BEST.

    X