Sunday, November 5, 2017

Al Kol Eleh


Al Kol Eleh (“For All These Things”) is a song written by Israeli composer and singer Naomi Shemer [1930–2004], who wrote a song called “Of Sting and Honey,” which became identified by its chorus, Al Kol Eleh. The song is published in Book Three (Sefer Gimel) of Shemer’s large collection of songs and poems. In many ways, this is a prayer to the heavens—to the Creator and Master of the Universe, to Ribbono Shel Olam—composed in popular song form, to act towards the Jewish People in accordance to His beneficence, munificence and mercy, and, of course, for the sake of shalom. The Jewish Women’s Archive writes the following of this quintessential Israeli-Jewish singer: “In 1979, when her sister Ruti was widowed, Shemer wrote ‘Of Sting and Honey’ for her as a song of encouragement. Yossi Banai sang it on a television program and included it in his one-man show, ‘Simon, Little Moïse and I.’” Yossi Banai's version can be heard here. This version above is created and produced by the Jewish Community of Argentina; I like that it uses and combines the voices of many individuals who all come together to form the Jewish community. My youngest son, who is in Grade 4, has learned this song as part of this year’s Remembrance Day ceremony at his school, which my wife and I plan to attend this week.
Via: Youtube

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Al Kol Eleh
by Naomi Shemer

Al hadvash ve’al ha'okets
Al hamar vehamatok
Al biteynu hatinoket shmor eyli hatov.

Al ha’esh hamevo’eret
Al hamayim hazakim
Al Ha’ish hashav habayta
min hamerkhakim

Chorus:
Al kol eleh, al kol eleh,
Shmor nah li eyli hatov
Al hadvash ve'al ha'okets
Al hamar vehamatok.

Al na ta'akor natu’a
Al tishkakh et hatikvah
Hashiveyni va’ashuva
El ha’arets hatovah.

Shmor Eli al ze habayit
Al hagan, al hakhoma
Miyagon, mipakhad peta
Umimilkhama.

Shmor al hame’at sheyesh li
Al ha’or ve’al hataf
Al hapri shelo hivshil od
Veshene’esaf.

Chorus:
Merashresh ilan baru'akh
Merakhok nosher kokhav
Mish'alot libi bakhoshekh
nirshamot achshav.

Ana shmor li al kol eyle
Ve'al ahuvey nafshi
Al hasheket al habékhi
ve’al ze hashir.

Chorus:
Al kol eleh, al kol eleh,
Shmor nah li eyli hatov
Al hadvash ve’al ha’okets
Al hamar vehamatok.


For All These Things

Every bee that brings the honey
Needs a sting to be complete
And we all must learn to taste the bitter with the sweet.

Keep, oh Lord, the fire burning
Through the night and through the day
For the man who is returning
from so far away.

Chorus:
Don’t uproot what has been planted
So our bounty may increase
Let our dearest wish be granted:
Bring us peace, oh bring us peace.

For the sake of all these things, Lord,
Let your mercy be complete
Bless the sting and bless the honey
Bless the bitter and the sweet.

Save the houses that we live in
The small fences and the wall
From the sudden war-like thunder
May you save them all.

Guard what little I’ve been given
Guard the hill my child might climb
Let the fruit that’s yet to ripen
Not be plucked before its time.

Chorus:
As the wind makes rustling night sounds
And a star falls in its arc
All my dreams and my desires
Form crystal shapes out of the dark.

Guard for me, oh Lord, these treasures
All my friends keep safe and strong,
Guard the stillness, guard the weeping,
And above all, guard this song.

Chorus:
For the sake of all these things, Lord,
Let your mercy be complete
Bless the sting and bless the honey
Bless the bitter and the sweet.

Bless the sting and bless the honey
Bless the bitter and the sweet.

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