[Audio below.] In the year 1907, the poem, Shaka Chama, was written by the rosh yeshiva of Bais Medrash Lerabonon in Berlin, Rav Avrohom Eliyahu Kaplan zt”l. He wrote it at the age of seventeen while learning in Slabodka.
As a student of the famous Slabodka Yeshiva, he internalized the teachings of mussar, as is evident from this poem, which contains a sense of depression and searching. It begins: “The sun has set… my soul has set / In the depth of its sorrow as great as the sea…”
More than a century later, Los Angeles businessman and philanthropist Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz composed an amazing addendum to the poem, an original high part with its own lyrics. While the tune of the addendum is clearly inspired by the original melody, the new lyrics written to the poetry, take on a more encouraging and uplifting theme.
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