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MODZHITZ , ḥasidic dynasty in Poland (family name: Taub). Its founder was Israel of Modzhitz (d. 1921), son of Samuel Elijah of Zwole. He emphasized the value of music in Ḥasidism and is regarded as the creator of the ḥasidic melody as an art form. Israel composed hundreds of melodies, of which the best known are those to Ezkerah Elohim ve-Ehemayah, consisting of over 30 stanzas composed at a time of physical suffering, and to Le-Mizmor Todah (also called Niggun li-Meḥusserei Bayit ("A Tune for the Homeless"), expressing the distress of Jewish refugees during World War i. Much of his teachings are devoted to the praise of music. His son, saul jedidiah eleazar (d. 1947), was av bet din in Rakov and Karzow. In 1929 he moved to Otwock near Warsaw and after his father's death headed the Modzhitz Ḥasidim. He combined Torah with music, and popularized the Modzhitz melodies throughout the Jewish world, composing hundreds of tunes. He edited and published his father's sermons with his own in Divrei Yisrael (Lublin, 1901–04; Warsaw, 1912; Warsaw, 1930; New York, 1931) and in the Passover Haggadah, Ishei Yisrael (Warsaw, 1938); he also edited and published the booklets Tiferet YisraelKunteres Ma'amarim (Warsaw, 1936–38; Brooklyn, 1941–47). He died in Tel Aviv.


M.S. Geshuri (ed.), La-Ḥasidim Mizmor (1936); idem, Neginah va-Ḥasidut be-Veit Kuzmir u-Venoteha (1952).

[Avraham Rubinstein]