Friday, November 11, 2016

Leonard Cohen, Z"L, Baruch Dayan Ha'emett

I really think it's good to take a break from politics, any country's politics, this morning.
I find it interesting that in his later years, he performed wearing a hat.
Yes, Leonard Cohen, Z"L, has passed away. Not being a fan of American '60's Folk Music, I can't say that I've been a fan of Leonard Cohen or an expert when it comes to his music, but I did admire his use of traditional Jewish texts for some of his songs.

I even used one of his songs in the classroom when I taught in the yeshiva high school in Beit El.

Who By Fire
And who by fire, who by water,
who in the sunshine, who in the night time,
who by high ordeal, who by common trial,
who in your merry merry month of may,
who by very slow decay,
and who shall I say is calling?
And who in her lonely slip, who by barbiturate,
who in these realms of love, who by something blunt,
and who by avalanche, who by powder,
who for his greed, who for his hunger,
and who shall I say is calling?
And who by brave assent, who by accident,
who in solitude, who in this mirror,
who by his lady's command, who by his own hand,
who in mortal chains, who in power,
and who shall I say is calling?

I would challenge my students to recognize the source of Cohen's inspiration, the Unetaneh Tokef prayer:
On Rosh Hashanah it is inscribed
And on Yom Kippur it is sealed
How many shall die and how many shall be born
Who shall live and who shall die
Who at the measure of days and who before
Who by fire and who by water
Who by the sword and who by wild beasts
Who by hunger and who by thirst
Who by earthquake and who by plague
Who by strangling and who by stoning
Who shall have rest and who shall go wandering
Who will be tranquil and who shall be harassed
Who shall be at ease and who shall be afflicted
Who shall become poor and who shall become rich
Who shall be brought low and who shall be raised high
 (credit for translation)

It's obvious that Cohen could not fully escape his Jewish background. My neighbor, Moshe Keinan, recorded a traditional Halleluya to Cohen's tune.

ברוך דיין האמת
Baruch Dayan Ha'emett
Blessed is The True Judge

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