Lyrics

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Ashira Lyrics To Print Out

And program notes from my first album (1983), BEGINNINGS:

1. AYELET HASHACHAR

The Hebrew lyrics are from Tehillim (Psalms) 22, traditionally the prayer of Queen Esther when she pleaded for the lives of her People (Yoma 29 a-b; Megilla 15 b). “Ayelet HaShachar,” (literally “Gazelle of Dawn”) is the name of a star or planet that brightens the sky just before daybreak. Exile – not feeling at “home” – is compared to darkness. History is a gradual unfolding in which every individual’s quest for truth brings humanity closer to world peace (Zacharia 14:9). “Rabbi Chiya and Rav Shimon ben Chalafta were once walking in the valley of Arbel in the early morning and they saw Ayelet HaShachar. Rabbi Chiya said: ‘So will the redemption of Israel be. At first little by little, then it gathers strength, and then it grows continually” (Yerushalmi Berachot).

LYRICS:

Ayelet HaShachar, Star of the Morning
Sign of the dawning of the true King
He sets it shining there in the dark of night
Sign of the morning the new day will bring.

יזכרו וישבו אל-ד’ כל-אפסי-ארץ וישתחוו לפניך כל-משפחות גוים:

כי לד’ המלוכה ומשל בגוים: תהלים כ”ב

All the ends of the earth will one day remember
And they will return, return to their King
And all families of nations
Will bow down before Him, bow down before Him.
כי לד’ המלוכה ומשל בגוים:

English Lyrics ©1983 by Ashira Morgenstern

2. LETTERS AND SPACES

The letters of the Hebrew alphabet are the building block of the universe, and the spaces surrounding the letters and words have great significance as well (Shabbath 116 a ; Lekutei Halachoth as explained by Rav S.Y. Zevin in L’Torah Ul’Moadim, p. 315). The reference to “children” is based on a tradition that at the crossing of the Sea of Reeds, even infants saw the Divine Presence (Sota 30). “Melted gold” is the golden calf and all it stood for; “spoke to us in fire” refers to the giving of the Torah at Sinai (see the commentary of Rashi on D’vorim – Deuteronomy 33, 2). “You’ve hidden Your light within Your Law” echoes the Talmud: (Brochoth 8 a): “From the day the Holy Temple was destroyed, the Holy One, Blessed by He, has nothing in this world but the four cubits of His Law.”

LYRICS:
They say it used to be so different
Not magic, no, but somehow You were there
Even children used to know You,
Used to spin around and find You everywhere.
Then people tried to catch You, trap You
In melted gold and stories made of air.

REFRAIN: Then everything all somehow was changed
You’ve hidden Your light within Your law
Zacharti b’layla shimcha Hashem… (Tehillim 119:

They say that You would often call us
In shadows and in darkness of the night
That once You spoke to us in fire
When the day was split with thunder, blazing bright
They say that through the shattered heavens
They saw You then so clearly, saw Your light.

REFRAIN: Then everything all somehow…

And when the summer sunshine sparkled
Across a pool of water dancing free
And when the stars came out in layers
Deep as snow in darkest winter’s memory
The echo of a whisper called me
Caught me, taught me, brought me, reached for me.

Letters and spaces on a page
You’ve hidden Your light within Your Law
Zacharti b’layla…

English Lyrics ©1983 by Ashira Morgenstern

3. ASHIRA LASHEM – TAMOBOURINE SONG

The title literally means “I will sing.” Even at the darkest moments, Jewish women cultivate faith that there will be reason to sing. The last verse of this song are the words Israel sang after passing safely through the Sea of Reeds/Red Sea (Shemoth – Exodus 15, Shir HaShirim – Song of Songs 2:14). It was in the merit of the righteous Jewish women that Israel was taken out of Egypt…and it will again be in the merit of righteous Jewish women that the future redemption will come.

The Hebrew lyrics of this song are from Shemoth 15: “I will sing to HaShem, for He is most exalted. Horse and rider He has thrown into the sea. G-d is my strength and my song, and He will save me. This is my G-d and I will glorify Him; the G-d of my father, and I will praise Him.”

LYRICS:
How did she know that on this journey
There would be cause to sing?

Take the baby, Sarah, and wrap him up real tight
Leah get the baskets, we’re leaving here tonight
Avi bring my tambourine and take your father’s hand
We are going from this land, far across the desert sand;
We are going from this land, far across the desert sand;

Don’t be frightened, children, just stay real close to me
We’re following that fire through the night and through the sea
And never mind the soldiers nor the swords in their hands
For soon you’ll understand, yes, soon you’ll understand
Why we brought a tambourine far across the desert sand.

Listen to the water rippling on the shore
All of us are safe now, we’ve enemies no more
Great things we’re bound to happen while following our King
And we were bound to sing, yes we were bound to sing.
And now you understand why we brought a tambourine!
אשירה לד’ כי-גאה גאה, סוס ורכבו רמה בים:
עזי וזמרת ק”ה ויהי-לי לישועה,
זה קלי ואנוהו, אלוקי אבי וארממנהו: שמות ט”ו

English Lyrics ©1983 by Ashira Morgenstern

4. LITTLE STRANGER

The Hebrew lyrics of this song are the last verst of Tehillim – Psalms 128: “May you see your children’s children, peace to Israel.”

LYRICS:
Well hello little stranger, entirely new
Only born an hour ago, just look at you!
Open up your sleepy eyes a glimmer or two
Hey there, can you see me?
I’m the one who’ll be here taking care of you.

REFRAIN: All the future shines in your faraway smile
And I’ll be here to help you as you find your way
And all the things I will do for you
Are things you’re going to do
For children of your own someday.

Well hello, little stranger are you ready for school?
Peanut butter on your face, just look at you!
Where is your sweater, let me tie your shoe.
As I watch you grow I see that I’ve grown, too.
וראה-בנים לבניך שלום אל-ישראל
The children of your own someday.

English Lyrics ©1983 by Ashira Morgenstern

5. TWO PEOPLE

A Jewish wedding is, in part, a celebration of the fact that two different aspects of one soul are uniting to fulfill their purpose on earth more completely. A husband and wife sometimes have different tasks: for example, he puts on Tefillin, and she lights the Sabbath lights. Yet their separate actions carry them, together, closer to their shared eternal goal.

English Lyrics ©1983 by Ashira Morgenstern

6. KAREN

This song presents concepts from traditional commentaries on Tehillim – Psalms 121. The “going out” and the “homecoming” mentioned in the Hebrew refrain refer, among other things, to each individual’s departure from Paradise at birth, and their eventual return. The Targum suggests that the “homecoming” is a return to learning Torah. The Radak adds that this verse alludes to Israel’s journey up out of exile and our eventual return to the Holy Land. All of these perspectives are present in the story of Karen. That the ballad begins in an airport reflects a custom observed by many: whenever a person leaves Israel, we wish them a safe return by reciting this Psalm.

English Lyrics ©1983 by Ashira Morgenstern

7. SO I SING

Appreciating the wonders of nature inspires us to search for the One who is behind it all. The word “DeReCh” – “way” – in Hebrew connotes action. We are encouraged to follow the “ways” of the Creator in order to enhance and protect the harmony and bounty of the natural world. (Malbim on Tehillim – Psalms 25:4; and Shabbos 133 b).
The Hebrew lyrics are from Tehillim 25: “Show me Your ways, HaShem; teach me Your paths.”

I was standing at the window as the rain began to fall;
What is there beyond the rainbow?
Why am I here to see it all?
Though I’ve seen beyond the rainbow
I find greater mysteries still:
See the earth turn through each season,
Is it by chance or by some will?

Chorus: So I sing to the One
Who makes the seasons change
דרכיך ד’ הודיעני ארחותיך למדני: תהלים כ”ה

The One who paints the shining rainbow
Holds the secrets in His hands:
Why is dying part of living? Why is pain a part of man?
So many times that I have doubted;
So many times that I’ve been wrong.
So many times that I’ve been happy
And it’s all part of one sweet song.

Chorus: So I sing to the One…

English Lyrics ©1983 by Ashira Morgenstern

8. WOMAN
We ourselves are the “generation waiting to be born.”

English Lyrics ©1983 by Ashira Morgenstern

9. MAH NISHTANA – KOTEL SONG

The references in the last verse of this song to a “fountain” and a “thirsty heart” are not found in the original poem from which the Hebrew lyrics are taken. In part, they allude to Yishayahu – Isaiah 12:3, and 55:1. Torah is compared to water: life cannot exist without water; and, just as water can only flow downhill, so Divine Wisdom can only enter a humble heart. In one of his mystical allegories, “The Seven Beggars,” Rabbi Nachman of Breslov describes how a wellspring and a heart are drawn to one another. In Amos 8:11-13 we are told: “Behold, the days are coming that I will send a famine in the land; not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water…but of hearing the words of the Almighty…” (Radak).

Hebrew Lyrics: Rebbetzin Chaya Sara Freifeld from her poem “To My Sister, the Bride, at the Western Wall”
English Lyrics ©1983 by Ashira Morgenstern

Dear Listener,
The composer of the Hebrew lyrics of the last song on this album was a teacher of teachers, a poet of poets: Rebbetzin Freifeld a”h – founder of Ayelet HaShachar teacher’s seminary in Far Rockaway, NY where I studied Torah with her from 1974-1978 and began teaching under her auspices.

Our family made aliya to Eretz Yisrael in 1979 but the Rebbetzin and I corresponded by mail and whenever she visited Israel, we would meet. I was preparing songs for this album and one day I set her words to a melody. She had often encouraged me to sing and play my guitar at our Rosh Chodesh gatherings in seminary, so I thought it would be nice to surprise her with a recording of her poem.

I jotted down the new song in a notebook and then put my guitar away to prepare lunch for the children as they came home from cheder. Later that evening, we received the sad news that Rebbetzin Freifeld had passed away during the predawn hour of Ayelet HaShachar. I counted back the seven hour time difference and realized that I had composed the melody for her poem at just about the time of her passing.

Chaya Sara Bas Yaakov Meir HaCohen returned her neshoma to its Creator on the 20th of Teveth, 5743 (1983). Several weeks later, this album was recorded. I hope my music provides a glimpse of the dream Rebbetzin Freifeld encouraged in all her students: the ability to nurture a faith in Hashem so deeply-rooted that we are empowered to transform life’s challenges into words of prayer and Torah, and deeds filled with wisdom and joy.

These songs were recorded for my children, students, and for all who pray for the peace of our Holy City of Jerusalem, may it be rebuilt quickly in our days, omen.

Ashira Morgenstern
29 Sivan 5743 (10 June 1983)
Jerusalem

Produced by: Rabbi Avraham Rosenblum
Recorded and Mixed at Avi Yaffe’s Studios, Jerusalem

All English Lyrics published here are ©1983 by Ashira Morgenstern, all rights reserved

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4 thoughts on “Lyrics

  1. Shoshana

    Dear Ashira,
    I grew up on your music. My father had bought your first tape for my mother as a gift in Kitov Hebrew Bookstore in Far Rockaway when it came out and she was hooked… we all were! Then the second… Rochel and Ashira were my mother’s favorites. When my youngest sister was born on Pesach in 1990 and my parents were to name her on shvii shel Pesach– the day of shiras hayam– it was no surprise that they named her Ashira.
    I was so thrilled to find your website, and can’t wait to send the link to my mother. (I actually saw Rochel attached to the Soferet digest, and that’s how I got to your site.) Is there a way to get your albums on CD? I’d love to surprise my mother with them for Chanuka.
    Thank you for inspiring us for the past 30 years with your magnificent music.

    Reply
    1. A.M. Post author

      Thank you, Shoshana! I’ll contact you via e-mail to arrange for getting the CD’s to you. Chanuka samayach!

      Reply
  2. Mimi David

    Can I get a CD too? Just like Shoshana, who I grew up with but didn’t know she posted here until I just found your website, your music is the sound of my youth. I would love to get your CD as well.

    Reply
    1. A.M. Post author

      Hi and thanks for commenting! I’ll send you an email to arrange for sending you a CD.

      Reply

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