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A vibrant celebration of the best that humankind can offer one another.
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 …
Eilu d’varim she-eyn la-hem shi-ur,
She-adam o-cheyl pey-ro-tey-hem ba-olam ha-zeh
V’ha-keren ka-yemet lo la-olam haba, v’eylu heyn:
Kibud av va-eym; u-g’milut chasadim; v’hash-kamat beyt ha-mid-rash sha-cha-rit v’ar-vit;
Take care of your family, neighbors and friends;
Learn how the world works and how its future depends on you;
V’hach-nasat or-chim; u-vikur cholim; v’hach-nasat kalah; u-l’va-yat ha-meyt; v’i-yun t’filah;
Take care of the lonely one, the needy too;
Learn when to celebrate; and when to shed tears; and when to pray;
V’ha-va-at shalom beyn adam la-cha-vey-ro;
Tal-mud Torah k’neged kulam.
Studying Torah is equal to them all, because its teachings lead to them all.
text from Jewish liturgy
music by Billy Dreskin
performed by Beged Kefet
sound engineering by Skipp Tullen z”l (Tullen Sound Recording, Morristown, NJ)
MP3 Audio (orig Beged Kefet recording), Lead Sheet for 4 Voices (pdf)
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