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Niggun Shamil

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This niggun was taught by the Lubavitcher Rebbe on Simchat Torah 5720/1959 [1] or 5719/1958 [2]. The tune is associated with the Avar tribal leader Imam Shamil and is used by the Hasidim to represent the soul's desire to free itself of the body's physical pleasures.


From 1834-1859, Imam Shamil (Samuel) was the Muslim leader of the Caucasian resistance against the Russians. His guerilla warfare tactics conducted from mountainous terrain held the Russians at bay for many years, but in 1859, the situation became dire. He had only 400 or so loyal followers left. The Russians surrounded Shamil's stronghold of Gounib, and out of consideration for his and his followers' families, he surrendered to the Russians.[3]

Hassidic Interpretation

To the Chabad Hassidim, this niggun represents Shamil's strong desire to escape his imprisonment and return to his previous freedom. It parallels the soul's desire to escape its imprisonment in the body's physical pleasures and return to its Source by performing Mitzvot and learning Torah.[4]

External links


  1. Heichal Neginah
  2. Shamil - Volume 4 - Audio & Video
  3. Lesley Blanch "The Sabres of paradise" pg. 407-410
  4. State of Judea


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