Monday, October 17, 2005

The quote-hunter finds another one

I never even tried looking for this particular pasuk/verse because the Hebrew is sufficiently difficult for a person of my limited knowledge that I couldn’t even figure out what all the words were, much less what they meant. But, on Erev Yom Kippur/the evening of the Day of Atonement, I got lucky. The chazzan/cantor, speed-davvening through a couple pages of miscellaneous quotes from the Tanach/Bible, actually managed to take a breath long enough to say one at a comprehensible speed—and the minute I heard it, I got the “instant replay” in my head. In multipart harmony. So after services, I went home and spent ten minutes looking for it in the ArtScroll Machzor l'Yom Kippur (prayer book for the Day of Atonement). (One of the minor banes of my existence as an inveterate “quote-hunter” is that none of the Conservative prayer books has footnotes—here we are, davvening all those marvelous quotations, and I have no idea where they’re from.) After we’d broken the fast some 25 hours later, I put on the CD, picked a part that I could sing (my top range having been temporarily knocked out by acid reflux, again—I’m back on Prevacid), and sang the words of Yechezkel/Ezekiel chapter 36, verse 25: V’zakarti aleychem mayim t’horim, u-t’hartem mikol tum’oteychem, u-mikol giluleychem ataher etchem, And I will pour pure water on you and purify you, of all your contaminations and of all your abominations I will purify you.”

Just a few months ago, my husband went on a hike through a reconstruction of one of David HaMelech’s/King David’s water tunnels in Ir David/the City of David. I went on strike, not wishing to slosh through water up to my hips, and crossing the street and hiking back uphill, went to davven Mincha at the Kótel/Western Wall. We agreed to meet afterward at the back of the Kótel, umpteen steps above the women’s section, in Ir haAtikah/the Old City. So there I sat, at a picnic table by the outdoor fast-food stands, my earphones plastered to my head, listening to the music of the Diaspora Yeshiva Band—within walking distance of the Diaspora Yeshiva. That’s one of my fondest musical memories of my trip to Israel.

I thanked them then, and I thank them now: Thank you, Diaspora Yeshiva Band, for all your beautiful music.

Update: Oops! I forgot to mention where to find the song. It's part of the three-part song cycle The Gate of Return (consisting of Va-ani K'cheresh, V'hu Rachum, and this one, Ataher Etchem), track/"song" # 12 on the two-CD set The Diaspora Collection.

I also forgot to mention where the verse appears in the Machzor l'Yom Kippur. It's the second to last sentence in the second to last paragraph before Sh'ma Koleynu in the Maariv (evening) and Musaf (Additional [daytime]) services. Unless I missed it somehow, this pasuk does not appear in any of the services for Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year).

Bonus: Look what I found while checking in the ArtScroll Machzor l'Rosh Hashanah to see whether this pasuk showed up in the Maariv shel Rosh Hashanah—apparently, you can add to the standard greeting "L'Shanah Tovah Tikatevu V'Techatemu, For a Good Year May You be Written and Sealed" (which, in the ArtScroll, is properly broken down by gender and number in accordance with correct Hebrew grammar, something that I've never heard done in my life) the words "l'altar, l'chaim tovim u-l'shalom, immediately, for a good life and peace." Far out—that's something else that I've never heard in my life, not even after four years of working for the "black-hats." I learn something new every day. Baruch chonen ha-daat—Praised is the One who graciously gives knowledge.


Blogger Unknown said...

They're one of my favorites too!

Tue Oct 18, 11:09:00 AM 2005  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Aren't they great? Mark/PT recommended them. I just love it that they had such a big group that they could sing multipart harmony at the drop of a kippah.

I'd love to get some of the recordings that some of the members made after the group split up. I understand that the leader is still out there singing (Mark's mentioned it on his blog), and Mark's talked about playing gigs with one of their violinists, Ruby Harris.

Speaking of Ruby Harris, if you haven't yet followed my link, a few posts back , and listened to Ruby Harris playing a guest gig with Blue Fringe (, don't miss it. You should hear him on the free download "Salaam"--it'll knock your socks off.

I'd look up the leader's name (Avraham Rosenblum?) on the CD liner), but I must run--we're going to a starting-late-because-of-Yom-Tov Chol HaMoed Israeli folk dancing session at the 92nd Street Y as soon as I post this. Moed Tov, everyone. Later!

Wed Oct 19, 07:51:00 PM 2005  
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