The Rawa Mazowiecka Nigun

A few weeks after the first Yohr Tzeit of אבי מורי ז’ל R’ Shaul Zelig HaCohen Balbin, two of our daughters were married ב’’ה.

It is a custom in Melbourne, probably emanating from the מצווה of הכרת הטוב that both Mechutonim say a few words between meals or dance sets. I spoke after my Mechutan, Rabbi Yossy Goldman of Sydenham Shule in Johannesburg. I was most conscious of the fact that my father had descended this world to be at the Simcha. Accordingly,  I decided to begin my speech with the Niggun he taught the family and which he often sang at the Shabbos table. My daughters and sisters are visible at stages in various stages of emotion on the video.

I haven’t heard it sung anywhere.

After I finished my speech many people said I should record it “properly” and put it up on iTunes or similar. I admit I hadn’t even thought of that. When I mentioned this to my friend HaRav HaGaon R’ Shraga Feitel HaLevi Levin, he suggested I do not do so. His view was to leave it כמות שהוא as it was. He felt I was in a state of “communion” with my father ע’’ה and that this should not be altered and presented as is. It’s a year later now, and I agree with Feitel, and below is the niggun, as it was sung on the night by me. If anyone has heard it before or knows its origins, I would be very much indebted. Rawa is in Congress Poland.

Author: pitputim

I'm a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia. I skylark as the band leader/singer for the Schnapps band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel.

61 thoughts on “The Rawa Mazowiecka Nigun”

  1. BS”D

    Keep sharing more Simcha in Melbourne.

    For a moment I thought I was in Rava Mazovyetzk too, just a stone throw away from the smoke of Lodz.

    In urban legend its known that for a time in the 1960’s & 70’s, Acland Street was a mini Rava.

    Gvaldike niggun.

    Like

  2. I remember Acland Street from my regular visits to the Melbourne of my youth, just for my interest was there ever a kosher restaurant or café there;s there today?
    when I made those visits I did not keep kosher,

    Like

    1. I don’t think there was a kosher restaurant but there was at least one famous restaurant run by the zeleznikows (Bundists) where you could apparently get cholent Kishke and all the cholesterol raising foods any day of the week. It was a meeting point for many Polish Jews

      Like

  3. I vaguely remember eating and drinking somewhere where Yiddish was being spoken, it warmed my heart, the people where both animated and subdued carrying the pain and burden of the hell from which they had recently emerged.
    I was attracted to such people that attraction morphed into an interest in Yiddishkeit.
    which led me to the wise men of Chabad, Reb Zalman Serebryanski of Blessed Memory and his fellow Russian Chassidim and also Rabbi Groner may his memory be for blessing.
    How fortunate am I that the Rebbe Rayatz zy”a and Rebbe zy”a send them to Melbourne, so young men of the time could return to their “home”.
    I pray that the present generation should be granted inspirational personalities to guide them with love and care, to the time when G-d will have rachmonus on His children and send Moshiach.

    Like

      1. The only time I met Rav Abaranok was when Rav Abramson gave me a sefer to deliver to him on one of my trips to Melbourne, they both had the same dignified Rabbinic Shtel with engaging warm personalities

        Like

  4. BS”D

    Those were the days…..Rabbi Chaim Gutnick would drive the local kids down to acland street for ice-cream, it was a judische gasse and in those days that was enough, no questions over hechsherim or cholov-stam. While there was never a supervised restaurant in acland st there was a kosher butcher & poulterer with take away schnitzels & dumplings available in paper bags, just up the street were the card rooms (spielenkartten), where many schmatte deals took place over coffee. (aka the acland casino).

    Like

  5. BS”D

    Those were the days…..Rabbi Chaim Gutnick would drive the local kids down to acland street for ice-cream, it was a judische gasse and in those days that was enough, no questions over hechsherim or cholov-stam. While there was never an official supervised restaurant in acland st there was a kosher butcher & poulterer with take away schnitzels & dumplings available in paper bags, just up the street were the card rooms (spielenkartten-tsimmer), where many schmatte deals took place over coffee. (aka the acland casino).

    Like

  6. There was a kosher chicken shop in Acland St. for many years, “Eatmore” Kosher Poultry run by Mr. Godel Wroby which was the forerunner of “Solomon’s” butchers.
    There was also Balberyszkys moocher seforim there for many years.

    Like

  7. BS”D

    I remember the Eatmore shop on Acland St quite well. I’m trying to follow your comment, are you saying Eatmore was dubious or the MBD or both? Eatmore has simply morphed into Solomons. What great changes have taken place since then other than the complete monopolisation and rationalisation of kosher meat in Melbourne. One thing for sure, a kosher chicken didnt cost $50 down on Acland street as it does now on Glen Eira Rd. But then again one couldn’t find a decent cheese blintz in the entire neighbourhood including Carlisle street that oddly lacks a Kosher butcher of any sort.

    Like

    1. Let me say there was one mashgiach, the late Lova Widerman who mentioned things and we only trusted what he personally saw through the process. Ironically he was also from Elwood. I might be wrong but in those days there were far less visits from Rabonim. That’s not to say the MBD then were overseeing treyf. Chas Veshalom. Rather practices have improved

      Like

  8. BS”D

    I remember the Eatmore shop on Acland St quite well. I’m trying to follow your comment/premise, are you saying Eatmore was dubious or the MBD or both? Eatmore has simply morphed into Solomons. What great changes have taken place since then other than the complete monopolisation and rationalisation of kosher meat in Melbourne. One thing for sure, a kosher chicken didnt cost $50 down on Acland street as it does now on Glen Eira Rd. But then again one couldn’t find a decent cheese blintz in the entire neighbourhood including Carlisle street that oddly enough lacks a Kosher butcher of any sort.

    Like

    1. I’m saying nothing about Eatmore or Solomons. You can find nice cheese blintzes in all sorts of places now, but not kosher ones in Acland Street. Things have improved on the takeaway and cake side, but meat and chicken remain very expensive, as is catering as a result, I guess.

      Like

  9. BS”D

    There has certainly been an upward shift in Halachic Madreigahs in ol Melbourne town.

    Back in the day the Mashgichim would put that little copper/tin token around the hen, and that was supposed to be the great seal of supervision.

    All I know is one can get a chicken in Boro Park for $5.00

    Like

  10. BS”D

    There has certainly been an upward shift in Halachic Madreigahs in ol Melbourne town.

    Back in the day the Mashgichim would put that little copper/tin token (the Plumba) around the hen, and that was supposed to be the great seal of supervision.

    All I know is one can get a chicken in Boro Park for $5.00, and its cheaper for Kapporas.

    Like

  11. Standards of Kashrus supervision have improved all over the world, many items which were eaten by even the pious in the immediate post war years would not touch the lips of the majority of kosher consumers today be they in Melbourne, New York or Tel Aviv.

    Like

  12. In order to bring the cost of kosher meat down in Australia a much larger consumer base is needed.
    The United States has one million kosher consumers Australia may have 10,000.
    A chicken costs 9.00 in New York the same item in Sydney costs 22.00 and in Melbourne 19.00. The differentials are similar with dairy and many manufactured products.
    There is really is no solution shy of community subsidies.

    Like

      1. If another company sees an economic opportunity to enter the chicken market, would they be given a Hechsher?.
        Does the Adass Chabad and Kosher Australia operate from the same plant?.

        Like

          1. Actually, Adass and Solomon’s have been using separate facilities for a number of years. it’s a shame, because it leads to higher prices, but it does indicate that there is no great competitive opportunity.

            Like

      2. I don’t often criticise rabbonim, but I think their tolerance of the chicken monopoly is one of the great rabbinic failings in Australia. In fact, it would be a great thing if they were to uproot this stupid idea that there is “our” butcher and “their” butchers; that creates several mini-monopolies, and has led to a reduction in competition between the three remaining butchers.

        Like

        1. are there enough Kosher consumers in both Melbourne and Sydney for more than the two chicken producers supplying the butcher shops and supermarkets

          Like

          1. Chicken shechita is relatively simple, and chicken abattoirs themselves can be smaller and simpler than ones that handle red meat. I just read about one that was compliant to Australian food standards, and literally fit in a shipping container.

            The huge price difference between kosher and treif chickens means that a competing chicken shechita would be financially viable, as long as it had a market. Eatmore has the ability to squeeze out a wholesale competitor by temporarily dropping prices, or by threatening to withhold other products from its competitor’s customers. And the fact that Eatmore’s owner also has (the largest?) retail outlet means that they can squeeze out competitors on a retail level, too.

            Like

          2. your market is too small to stand alone, to effect price reductions.
            there needs to be kashrus unity between both major cities, reduce costs increase options.

            Like

  13. I hear that larger families find it difficult to make ends meet especially if they are makpid to use only Cholov Yisroel products.

    Like

    1. Most definitely. Cholov Yisroel milk is very expensive as are Gvinas Yisroel with Chalav Yisroel. Someone started importing American cheese and that caused a price drop. Until there is competition or the Major Poskim agree to webcam surveillance of cow establishments the price won’t drop. To be fair the person who produces it invested plenty I’m told.

      Like

  14. One giant Shechita in Nebraska slaughters more meat in a week than the entire Australian Shechita in a year.
    The support staff which is fully legal and unionized are paid 9.50 an hour.

    Like

    1. There must be major agricultural hurdles and costs involved in bringing it into Australia. I surmise, otherwise there is a good business opportunity. I know that we get Israeli Shochtim coming here and doing mass shechita as well as Chalav Yisroel powder runs about which Dovid Segal had some negative experience

      Like

            1. Well if they send Eida Charedis why do they need another Rabbi and if it’s another Rabbi why isn’t it the Kashrus Authority of NSW itself

              Like

            2. as I said I am not sure of the exact details.
              OU, OK, Star K etc. us local Rabbonim in Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia and South America on a regular basis

              Like

            3. I doubt that Eida automatically accepts anyone accept themselves, I assume that they have an ongoing working relationship with many Rabbonim including the Rabbonim Mordechai and Moshe Gutnick.
              Verification could be sought by contacting either Kosher Australia or NSWKA.

              Like

            4. Yes everything must be transparent, every school, every Yeshivah, every communal organization, every synagogue, every Rabbi’s appointment, every Kashrus authority and every Beth Din.
              A revolution in the making…

              Like

  15. In the UK, the cost of many Chalav Yisrael dairy products is a lot cheaper than similar non CH Y products in Australia. So the price difference is not always driven by Kashrus.

    Like

    1. It’s population related for sure, and I’ve noticed that they sell some cholov yisroel chocolate drinks at 7/11. On the other hand Yumi’s fish products do very well because they are mostly fish and they innovate

      Like

  16. The cost of chicken is much cheaper in the US. Lamb or meat is cheaper in Australia. Milk is cheaper in the US, but the milk cost is cheaper, besides the competition. Also, they sell more. In Canada, milk and chicken cost more. So it’s much more complex than the kosher prices alone.

    Like

    1. meat is not cheaper in Australia, lamb is cheaper and much tastier.
      Bottom line, a trolley of many kosher items is far cheaper in real terms in Brooklyn than Melbourne, forget Sydney the prices there are outrageous.
      .

      Like

  17. The NZ CH Y milk powder production only happened twice, the last time being about 8 or 10 years ago. It turned out to be a flop because there was a lot of stock left. It became a lot cheaper to produce and transport from other places.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s