1 Iyar 5781 / Tuesday, April 13, 2021 | Torah Reading: Tazria - Metzora
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HomeIsrael and SocietyJewish Music and ArtsRebirth of the Judean Flute
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Rebirth of the Judean Flute    

Rebirth of the Judean Flute

Rabbi Lazer Brody commissioned Shilo flute-craftsmen Joe Bazer to build him a replica of the exact same flute that was played in the Holy Temple; it sounds exquisite…


Photography by David Bader.
Moshiach is definitely on the way.
Sure, we all talk about Geula, ingathering of the exiles, and the rebuilding of our Holy Temple, speedily and in our days, amen. We’re commanded to eagerly await Moshiach and to expect salvation at any moment. But do we?
I can honestly say today that I can feel the intimate arrival of Moshiach and the rebuilding of the Bet HaMikdash; that is, ever since I accompanied Rabbi Lazer Brody on a trip to the village of Shilo, about an hour north of Jerusalem in the Binyamin Region, the site of the Holy Tabernacle that was destroyed during the Philistine Wars during the time of Eli the High Priest.
For those who may not know, Rabbi Lazer plays wood flutes and composes melodies for them. His first album, Calming Waters, has received wonderful reviews both in Israel and in the USA. But, despite the fact that he largely uses the NAF (Native-American flute), what people know as the “Indian Flute,” Rabbi Lazer doesn’t try to adapt himself to any conventional style, especially foreign. “Rebbe Nachman demanded that we be upright menagnim.”
“Menagnim”- literally “melodists” - is the Hebrew word for musicians. Musicians play instruments, but melodists sing songs of praise to Hashem. Rabbi Lazer adds, “Rebbe Nachman didn’t want his disciples to be bar-room musicians. He wanted us to be menagnim. You’ll find that in the first section of Likutei Moharan, Torah 3. Yet in Torah 54, the Rebbe says that the instrument must be upright as well, capable of being a worthy vessel for the niggun, or melody. For that reason, I always dreamed of having a flute that would be made of local Israel-grown wood and crafted here by an upright Shabbat-observing and G-d fearing craftsman. In short, I was looking for something spiritually pure as possible that would give me the tone of the flute used in the Bet Hamikdash, our Holy Temple. I asked Hashem to give me such a gift…”
Sounds like a pipedream? Those with emuna ask Hashem for whatever they need. Well, Hashem certainly heard Rabbi Lazer’s prayers. “After Calming Waters hit the market, I received an email from an individual in Shilo by the name of Joe Bazer. He happened to be an acclaimed master wood turner who had now begun to make his own flutes, right here in the Land of Israel. We met in Jerusalem, and we became great friends. Joe made a custom Eucalyptus flute for me in G; it sounds like a nightingale and is just as good as the American-made NAF. But, it still lacked the tone of the Bet HaMikdash.”
The faster Moshiach and Geula approach us, the more we see outright revelations of G-dliness in this world. Rebbe Nachman said that for those who believe, miracles are the course of nature. Rabbi Lazer pulled a Gemara off the shelf, and opened it to tractate Arachin, second chapter. “Look here, Tal,” he showed me. “The Mishna here describes the type of flute that was used in our Holy Temple. It was made of native Israeli River Cane, not bamboo or metal. The Gemara explains that Israeli River Cane gives the flute a specially sweet and desirable tone. This flute is so important that it is played on the days when the entire Hallel is said, even if the day lands on a Shabbat! When I first learned this in deep detail, as soon as I closed the Gemara, I got a call from Joe Bazer. You’re not going to believe this…”
Joe called Rabbi Lazer with the good news that he had just completed his first 5-hole flutes made from Israeli River Cane. He calls this the “Shepherd flute” for undoubtedly, this was the type that King David played as a shepherd in the hills of Judea. Rabbi Lazer calls this the rebirth of the Judean flute. “Lucky I had a ride to Shilo when Joe called me,” smiles Rabbi Lazer. “Otherwise, I’d have put on my Nikes and run all the way from Ashdod to Shilo!”
Rabbi Lazer picked out 3 of the Shepherd Flutes as a start. What could be healthier for the soul? This is just what Rebbe Nachman wanted – a kosher menagen with a kosher instrument, playing original songs of praise to Hashem. Moshiach is undoubtedly fast on the way.
Photo Gallery:

1. Joe Bazer’s Shepherd Flutes

Rabbi Lazer playing the Shepherd’s Flute in the ruins of the Shilo Tabernacle

The Master Craftsman, Joe Bazer

Rabbi Lazer Brody testing a flute

Rabbi Lazer playing the Shepherd’s flute

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