A Yahrtzeit Seudah In Modzitz
On Tuesday night, a yahrtzeit seudah in honor of the Zvoliner Rebbe was held in Brooklyn at the Modzitzer Shtibel. Rav Newmark spoke divrei Torah about the niftar and related to the coming Yom Tov of Shavuos, and the legendary baal menagen, Rabbi Ben Zion Shenker, led the singing to an enthusiastic gathering of Jews from all backgrounds, Chassidim and non-Chassidim alike.
From Modzitz.org (abridged):
Upon the passing of Reb Chaskale Kuzmir zt'l, his son the Zvoliner Rebbe, Reb Shmuel Eliahu, was called upon to lead the Chasidim. Reb Shmuel Eliahu lived in Zvolin, Poland. From his youth, Reb Shmuel Eliyahu was outstanding in his Torah scholarship and his musical abilities. When he davened before the amud in his father's Beis Medrash, the place shook. People then said that they experienced the meaning of "and the entire nation saw the sounds" (a description in the Torah to describe the giving of the Torah).
Nevertheless, he didn't continue for long to daven before the amud, to the dismay of the Chassidim. Precisely because he understood the value of niggun, he refrained from singing. Even so, he composed many niggunim, especially for Shabbos and Yom Tov that were known thoughout Poland and attracted many people. He was the first of the Polish Tzaddikim to concentrate his creative powers in negina. With his awesome memory, he was able to remember everything he composed.
His attitude towards negina was as if the singer were standing in the Beis HaMikdash, and the Leviim were accompanying him in the shira v'zimra. He passed away in 5648 , leaving behind five sons: Rebbe Moshe Aharon, who succeeded him in Zvolin; Rebbe Yisrael of Modzitz; Rebbe Yaakov of Radom. The other two sons, R. Ovadiah and R. Chaim Benyamin, did not have a Chassidic following. He passed away on the 26 of Iyar 5648 or May 8, 1888. Modzitz as such, started with his son, Reb Yisrael Taub of Modzitz.