Tuesday, April 04, 2023

A Pesach special: Shira has more fun with Shir HaMaalot, thanks to Eliana Light

One of my favorite things to do with Jewish liturgy is to choose tunes other than the traditional ones for singing Shir HaMaalot, the psalm (126) that we use for introducing Birkat HaMazon (Grace After Meals).  On Rosh HaShanah (Jewish New Year), I might sing a tune that our synagogue uses for Areshet S’faténu.  On Sukkot (Feast of Booths), I might use a tune that we sing for Psalm 115 (“Y’varech et Bet Yisrael”).  On Simchat Torah, I like to use En Adir, which our synagogue reserves for that day.  On Chanukah, I choose a traditional (Ashkenazi?) Maoz Tzur.  On Purim, I use the old song Chag Purim.  Between Pesach (Passover) and Shavuot (Feast of Weeks), my husband and I usually borrow songs that we know from Israeli folk-dancing that were written to verses from Shir HaShirim (Song of Songs).  On Shavuot, I usually use an old melody to Torah Tziva Lanu Moshe.  On ordinary Shabbatot (Sabbaths), we’ll often borrow tunes from various Shabbat services or z’mirot/piyyutim (liturgical poems often used as song lyrics).  One of my personal favorites for Shabbat is this tune to L’cha Dodi that was written by Dapha Rosenberg, of the Israeli spiritual community and singing group Nava Tehila. 

So nu, Shira, didn’t you say that this post was going to be a Pesach special?  Oh, yeah, thanks for the reminder.  😊 Normally, I would sing Shir HaMaalot to the (Ashkenazi?) tune for Adir Hu.  But this year, I’m trying a tune that was just released on Facebook and YouTube last week:  Eliana Light’s Dayenu.  Working with this tune, I’ve found that it’s easier to put the accents on the wrong syllables for some of the words.  Here’s the way I’ll be singing it—verse A, verse B, verse A, verse B, chorus A, chorus B, chorus A, chorus B.  I’ll be singing the random verses after Psalm 126 this way—verse A, verse B, chorus A, chorus B.  Try it, you may like it.  Enjoy!



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