This melody has the following background:
A story is told of a man named Shamil, a leader of assorted tribes that lived in Russia’s Caucasian Mountains over a century ago. The Russian army attacked these tribes, intending to deprive them of their freedom. Unable to vanquish the valiant warriors in battle, the Russian army leaders proposed a false peace treaty, and thus succeeded in getting them to lay down their arms. Immediately afterwards, the Russians lured the Caucasian leader, Shamil, away from his stronghold and imprisoned him.
Staring out of the window of his small narrow cell, Shamil reflected on his days of liberty in the past, In his current exile and helplessness, he bewailed his plight and yearned for his previous position of freedom and fortune. He consoled himself, however, with the knowledge that he would eventually be released from his imprisonment and return to his previous position with even more power and glory. It is the above thought that he expressed in this melancholy, yearning melody.
The Moral: The soul descends to this world from the heavens above, clothed in the earthly body of a human being. The soul's physical vestments here are really its prison cell, for it constantly longs for spiritual, heavenly fulfillments. The soul strives to free itself from the "exile" of the human body and its earthly pleasures by directing its physical being into the illuminated and living paths of Torah and Mitzvot.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson
Cantor Moshe Teleshevsky
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