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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Di naye 'Al Chet' - a song for Yom Kippur if you're feeling a bit sardonic

UPDATE: Reposted to add a new Instagram video.

Click the picture to listen to and/or purchase this track from our cd "Lebedik Yankel."

Now that I have my own copy of Heskes, I see that she references quite a few songs called "The New [name of some prayer]." I assume they follow the form of this one and the other I've posted, "Lo Lanu (Loy Lani)" - they start in the synagogue, assuming the audience knows the context of the prayer they cite, and then go on to put the concept into more secular situations.

In this case: singing a smidgen of Al Chet (the Yom Kippur prayer which lists our sins), each character in his/her own verse grudgingly admits wrongdoing and asks forgivenness (and a good year).

This one: copyright 1928, words by Morris Rund, music by Sholom Secunda. It's a strange tune. Aviva Enoch is playing piano, thanks, Aviva. Randy Kloko sings bass on the chorus.

Click to hear the 1-minute video I just made for Instagram:


There are three verses in Zhelonek; the Pesach Burstein version, from which I transcribed the melody, also has three verses, completely different. The first verse I sing is the second Zhelonek verse. Burstein's first is: "On Yom Kippur God forgives all Jews for their sins. We beg, with fear and terror, that the Creator will provide happiness, health and livelihood. For the sins we have committed before Thee... The old Reb Zishe prays to God: "Maybe I sinned before you because I looked at another woman."





Here's my Yiddish translation of the version I sang:

The butcher's wife Natke stands in the meat market
She doesn't want to get the least bit thinner.
She sells bones to all her customers and saves the shnitzel for herself.
For the sins we have committed before Thee...
Poor thing, she begs compassion from the Creator:
"I'm not the slightest bit concerned
about my customers, it's only You I fear."

Chorus: Master of the Universe, hear my petition,
don't punish me like a sinner, send me happiness and a livelihood.

And the shoemaker's tears are also pouring:
"Oh God, help me quickly! I haven't got any money in the purse
but there are shoes to make and soles to repair.
For the sins we have committed before Thee...
Oh, dear Father, maybe I sinned because I made some crummy patches..."

Reb Khayem shouts, but nobody's listening:
"I've been underground for years.
People drive cars now, it's hard to earn, nobody needs a horse shod.
For the sins we have committed before Thee...
Oh, God, what's the point? Perhaps I sinned before you
and did a shoddy job shoeing a couple of horses..."

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