dav Pierre Pinchik (1897-1971) Rozo d’Shabbos
Cantor Faith Steinsnyder, Soprano
National Opera Orchestra
Joseph Ness, Conductor


Pierre Pinchik grew to young manhood in a Chassidic environment that enabled him to pour the age-old mystical flame of Judaism into new vessels. He transferred the impromptu cries of ai-yai-yai from the privacy of family dining rooms into the public domain of synagogue worship. Nor were these the personal oy-veys of Zavel Kwartin; they went hand in glove with dramatic gestures that were calculated to resonate in the collective memory. Pinchik would use visual imagery as well, shielding the Torah with his tallit [prayer shawl] as he carried it around the synagogue. He was imitating the Russian Jew in Marc Chagall’s 1930 painting that now hangs in the Tel Aviv Museum, “protecting” the sefer [The Book] from “harm.” If you tried to kiss it, he would swerve away. The tableau was unforgettable. So was his otherworldly treatment of the kabbalistic prelude to Friday Night Ma’ariv in the Chassidic rite, Rozo d’Shabbos [The Mystery of Sabbath].

As the Throne of Glory is prepared for the Heavenly King, Sabbath arrives in the world below and is united with its lover, Israel. So, too, the Sh’khinah returns to The Endless One in the heavenly kingdom. The Mystery of Sabbath brings about these perfect unions... All is illumined by the Supernal Light [that was there at Creation]... and all forces of evil and powers of severe judgment must stand aside... None have dominion in all the world, except for the Sabbath. Zohar – Book of Splendor – III, T’rumah, 135 a-b