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Two songs you will hear in Israel before Rosh Hashanah.


It’s beginning to sound a lot like…


If you’re the sort of person who feels bombarded by Xmas carols round about December 5th in North America, you have some sense of what goes on here before the Tishrei festivals (ie, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Simchat Torah).

Some songs are holier than others.  The “secular” ones deal with the passing of seasons and years, while the holy ones are drawn from the Torah, Tanach, Siddur, Machzor, etc.  Both are heard almost everywhere, regardless of whether it’s a religious or secular setting.

And if you are ever out in public when either of these is sung or performed,

you WILL be expected to join in, at least on the refrain.  Israelis love to sing in public.  They get a kind of grudging look on their faces, but generally sing with zest once they get started.

So get studying!

I’ve include videos beneath each song. 

Kol Yom Matchila Shanah

כָּל יוֹם מַתְחִילָה שָׁנָה
(Every day, a New Year begins)

The sky is still clear
But in the evening it’s cool
in the window that faces the sea.
It’s maybe impossible to say
That summer’s already over
But the sun is more tired than before.

On the grass in the yard
The day starts to shorten
But it’s still as if nothing has changed.
If you’re a true friend
Just pretend for a moment
Don’t tell me another year’s passed.

No, this can’t be possible.
For years aren’t like seconds.
If you look you’ll be able to see,
That nothing has changed
All the feelings rebel
Give me just a few more days…
I just couldn’t get anything done this year.

There’s no more rain in the cloud;
Don’t jump on every single sign
Don’t get off before the station
Don’t see me in my journal
Be like a merciful father
Don’t wake me up; I’m still asleep.

No, this cannot be possible
A year… a year…
A year… another year…
A year… a year…
Don’t tell me another year has passed.

הָרָקִיעַ עוֹד בָּהִיר,
אַךְ בָּעֶרֶב כְּבָר קָרִיר,
בַּחַלּוֹן אֲשֶׁר פּוֹנֶה לַיָּם.
אִי אֶפְשָׁר אוּלַי לוֹמַר
שֶׁהַקַּיִץ כְּבָר נִגְמַר
אַךְ הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ מִתְעַיֵּף יוֹתֵר מֻקְדָּם.

עַל הַדֶּשֶׁא בֶּחָצֵר
יוֹם מַתְחִיל לְהִתְקַצֵּר
אַךְ עוֹד כְּמוֹ דָּבָר לֹא הִשְׁתַּנָּה.
אִם אַתָּה יְדִיד אֶמֶת
הַעֲמֵד פָּנִים כָּעֵת
אַל תַּגִּיד לִי שֶׁעָבְרה כְּבָר עוֹד שָׁנָה.

לֹא, זֶה לֹא יָכוֹל לִהְיוֹת
הַשָּנִים הֵן לֹא שְׁנִיּוֹת
אִם תַּבִּיט תּוּכַל לִרְאוֹת
שֶׁכְּלוּם לֹא הִשְׁתַּנָּה
כָּל חוּשַׁי מִתְקוֹמְמִים
תֵּן לִי עוֹד כַּמָּה יָמִים
לֹא הִסְפַּקְתִּי שׁוּם דָּבָר הַשָׁנָה.

אֵין עוֹד גֶּשֶׁם בֶּעָנָן
אַל תִּקְפֹּץ עַל כָּל סִימָן
אַל תֵּרֵד לִפְנֵי הַתַּחֲנָה
אַל תַּרְאֶה לִי בַּיּוֹמָן
תִּהְיֶה כְּמוֹ אָב רַחֲמָן
אַל תָּעִיר אוֹתִי אֲנִי עוֹד יְשֵׁנָה.

לֹא, זֶה לֹא יָכוֹל לִהְיוֹת...
שָׁנָנָנָנָנָנָה, שָׁנָנָנָנָנָנָה
שָׁנָנָנָה נָנָה עוֹד שָׁנָה
שָׁנָנָנָנָנָנָה, שָׁנָנָנָנָנָנָה
אַל תַּגִּיד לִי שֶׁעָבְרָה כְּבָר עוֹד שָׁנָה...ֹ.

Adon Haselichot

Even though this is a religious song, actually part of the Selichos prayers leading up to Yom Kippur, you will hear it absolutely everywhere:  schools and buses, of course, but also grocery stores, lingerie stores in the mall… everywhere. 

This is one version of several out there.

(Because it comes from the Mizrachi / Sefardi tradition, I won’t butcher it by turning the final “t” into an “s” as I usually do with anything prayer/Torah related, according to my weird Ashkenazi minhag.)

אֲדוֹן הַסְּלִיחוֹת
(Master of Forgiveness)

Master of forgiveness, examiner of hearts,
revealer of depths, speaker of justice
FORGIVE US – Have mercy on us.

Glorious in wonders, great in consolation,
Remembering the covenant with our fathers,
Investigating our conscience
FORGIVE US – Have mercy on us.

Who is good and does good to His creations, knowing all secrets; conquering sin, clothed in justice.
FORGIVE US – Have mercy on us.

Full of purity, awesome in praises,
Forgiving of sins, answers in times of trouble.
FORGIVE US – Have mercy on us.

Enacting salvation, viewing the future
Calling to generations, riding through the plains,*
FORGIVE US – Have mercy on us.

אֲדוֹן הַסְּלִיחוֹת, בּוֹחֵן לְבָבוֹת
גּוֹלֶה עֲמֻקוֹת, דּוֹבֵר צְדָקוֹת.
חָטָאנוּ לְפָנֶיךָ - רַחֵם עָלֵינוּ.

הָדוּר בְּנִפְלָאוֹת, וָתִיק בְּנֶחָמוֹת,
זוֹכֵר בְּרִית אָבוֹת, חוֹקֵר כְּלָיוֹת.
חָטָאנוּ לְפָנֶיךָ - רַחֵם עָלֵינוּ.


טוֹב וּמֵיטִיב לַבְּרִיוֹת, יּוֹדֵעַ כָּל נִסְתָּרוֹת.
כּוֹבֵשׁ עֲווֹנוֹת, לוֹבֵשׁ צְדָקוֹת.
חָטָאנוּ לְפָנֶיךָ - רַחֵם עָלֵינוּ.

מָלֵא זַכֻּיוֹת, נוֹרָא תְהִלוֹת,
סוֹלֵחַ עֲווֹנוֹת, עוֹנֶה בְּעֵת צָרוֹת.
חָטָאנוּ לְפָנֶיךָ - רַחֵם עָלֵינוּ.

פּוֹעֵל יְשׁוּעוֹת, צוֹפֶה עֲתִידוֹת,
קוֹרֵא הַדּוֹרוֹת, רוֹכֵב עֲרָבוֹת.
                              חָטָאנוּ לְפָנֶיךָ - רַחֵם עָלֵינוּ.

* Could not find a translation for this last pair, which has been translated into English as “rider in the sky” “desert” and various other meanings.

This is my last post of 5774, and I’m actually writing it well ahead of time and setting it to autopost, because I know things are going to get busy later on this week.

Please accept my best wishes for you and your family in the new year.  May 5775 be a year of aliyah, of going up, in every possible way…

Tzivia / צִיבְיָה

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