I was looking for an inspiring heading for this blog. Well, the reason is simply that I, my wife, and numerous others would not have survived Covid-19 without the beautiful soulful performance of Pianist Gershon Wachtel. When the lockdown began, we immediately started listening to Gershon’s daily Piano Performances. I am not naturally a fan of Piano recitals, and even in the past a friend highly recommended going to Gershon’s live performance, we find excuses not to go.
So, when Gershon asked me to write about his upcoming 75th Straight Performance which is given every day except for Shabbat and Jewish Holidays at 9pm in the evening and on Friday’s at 4pm, I jumped at the opportunity to write and share something as a token of my Hakaratov Tov (Appreciation and Thankfulness).
Well, I decided to google Gershon Wachtel, and discovered he brought out an album called “ From My Heart to Yours”. In between playing his Soulful Classical, Broadway, Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof, Carlebach, Beatles, Frank Sinatra melodies in his unique soulful style Gershon and his wife Chaya tell little stories. On one occasion he was looking for a name for his group and his faithful followers. I am not sure what name stuck, but on reflection, this should be called “From my heart to yours”.
So, every night we and hundreds of others faithfully listen to his live performances, relaxing, meditating, dozing, following the comments. He has a little game and asks people to guess the name of the tune, which Shows they came from. These comments are then related by his producer – his wife Chaya who often announces who guessed correctly first. Even though one can listen afterward as they remain on Facebook, there is something very special and spiritual to listen to a Live Performance, (The same goes for Live Prayer/Learning on Facebook/zoom – A recording does not have the same intensity).
Here are some of the comments from the live feed of the listeners and participants.(I could fill ten blogs with the comments)
One more time, thank you and Chaya for everything that you’ve been doing throughout these difficult times!!! Thank you for inviting us almost every evening and sharing your hospitality and talent!
Best Corona calming technique…nothing else matters but the beauty of the music.
Todah rabah! What a truly profound chesed you ate both doing. Many brachot upon you both
Thank you for all the memories and good night
Every night is another healing session
Looking forward to it …. Can’t wait ..See you tonight!
Awesome! Bravo! Magnificent! Beautiful! Thank You
Here are some stats from one performance
103 Live Listeners, 332 Comments, 22 Shares, 1K Views
Truly impressive and inspirational.
I never questioned why Gershon gave so freely of his passion, his gift, his talent. He humbly said he just wanted to bring some happiness to others. So, we just left it there. In preparing for this blog, I asked Gershon to share some of his background. So, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach famously asked – What do we know? What do we really know about another person? What do we know what troubles and challenges one has? Well, everybody has their Pecklach. As my good wife asks – would we swop our troubles, challenges with another person’s Pecklach? On reflection, the answer is we will not swop. These are our opportunities for growth. So, Gerson sends me a link that featured in an Online Chabad publication, and on reading this, my heart broke. While I do not want to detract from their personal tragedy of losing child, the torment, pain, and sadness, and try to keep this blog positive, it is important to remember that we can always not prevent a tragedy or accident, but we can choose how we react. I want to emphasize that again. We can choose how we react. In this article, Gershon describes the event and his emotions afterward. How they fluctuated from giving up on life, or making a difference, and grow from the Loss/Pain. After much heartache, Gershon and Chaya decided to make a difference and share the Gift of Talent that God gave to Gershon and bring more Light through his music to the world.
One can ask why our World seems so broken even before Covid19 there is so much suffering, wars, terrorism, natural disasters, tragic accidents, disputes, and injustice on so many levels International, National, and on a personal level. To look for an answer to brokenness, I will go back to quote Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach who asks why do the children present the broken piece of Matza at the end of the Seder? The ‘Afikomen’ – the broken Matza – represents the broken hearts, the broken lives, and the many tears in the world. The world is fractured, and we need to know how to repair it. Do you know who will eventually fix the World? Our children. Our Children will assemble the broken pieces to make the world whole again.
We hope and pray that our children will live (and lead) in a better world.
Thank you Gershon and Chaya for sharing your Hearts to Ours. Thank you for your selfless devotion, kindness bringing an extra measure of Light, Tranquillity, and Peace into our lives.
For a link to Gershon’s Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/gershon.wachtel
Link to the article in Chabad