Brooklyn, NY – In the wake of the recent Lipa Shmelzer imbroglio, people are looking for public statements—and VIN News is pleased and honored to have had a conversation with the king of Jewish music, R’ Mordechai Werydger, shlita, a.k.a. Mordechai Ben David.
MBD was not willing to talk at first, but then broadly shared his own experiences and insights regarding canceling concerts.
R’ Mordechai served as the Holy Ribnitzer Rebbe’s Zt”l gabbai for appox. 5years. But during those years—when concerts still had mixed seating audiences — he asked his Rebbe many times: “Es pas nisht…”, feeling strange serving as a Rebbe’s gabbai on the one hand and singing at such concerts at the other. Nevertheless, R’ Mordechai reports, the Rebbe never told him to stop but rather always encouraged him to continue with his success.
About 20 years ago, after a draining 10-concert/10-city world tour, MBD felt he didn’t have the energy to continue doing concerts, and thus decided to stop performing. But he kept receiving calls. Upon a visit to Israel he mentioned it to the the Lelover Rebbe, Rabbi Moshe Mordche Biderman Zt’L with whom he had a close relationship, of his decision. to which the Rebbe responded, “Who gave you permission to stop? Did you ask anyone? When you get a matana from Hashem, you can’t just stop. Continue singing and have great Hatzlocho. ”
Ten years ago, before a major concert in Israel for the Zichron Menachem organization, two askanim tried to stop it, even meeting with the Amshinover Rebbe trying to get him to convince MBD not to appear. Nevertheless, the Rebbe told MBD not to stop, and even gave him chizuk to do the concert.
But the most intriguing point is that MBD himself claims that He and Shyea Mendlowirz have introduced the concept of separate seating concerts which didn’t exist before. Although some major concerts regularly highlighted by MBD agreed to switch to separate seating as a result, they later reverted to mixed seating with the star’s departure from their stage.
Bottom line: On the issue of “Lipagate,” R’ Mordechai was hesitant to speak, but did say that “it’s very sad that a few irresponsible people who call themselves askanim are the ones who go around sedlling lies to the rabbonim about what’s going on at concerts when it’s not any different than a regular yiddishe simcha with separate seating, and it’s a disgrace what they’re trying to do to Klal Yisroel,” “what a shame that they’re busy with this rather than addressing the real issues that are troubling Klal Yisroel” opines MBD.