Eilu Devarim comes from the Jewish daily liturgy. Its origins are in the Talmud where it presents the rabbis discussing a question: What of a person’s actions is rewarded both in this world and in the next? Rabbi Yochanan answers: Kindness toward the stranger, visiting the sick, praying with meaning and intent, dedication to lifelong learning, raising children who also do these things, and judging others favorably and giving the benefit of the doubt. Other rabbis add to the list: Honoring one’s parents, performing acts of loving kindness, bringing peace between others, and considering Torah as being equal to all of these but only when it leads to all of these.
It’s a list well worth thinking about. This upbeat tune celebrates the potential each of us has for living such lives.
This recording comes from “The First Album,” Beged Kefet’s 1987 debut. Beged Kefet (1982-2009) was comprised of Rabbi Les Bronstein, Rabbi Billy Dreskin, Cantor Ellen Dreskin, Cantor Riki Lippitz, Cantor Benjie Ellen Schiller, Beth Sher, and Cantor Leon Sher. As you will hear, we worked hard to produce tight harmonies. And this was before you could tune things up afterward. Audio verite, you might say!
And just for fun, here’s a recording that Craig Taubman made with his Yad b’Yad kids back in the mid-1980s …