Panim El Panim

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Written to honor their friend, Rabbi Jeffrey Sirkman, Ellen and Billy wrote “Panim El Panim” together. The text (from the Torah) offers guidance on how to connect with God by connecting with one another.

Description

Billy was commissioned by Larchmont Temple (Larchmont, NY) to compose a piece for his friend, Rabbi Jeffrey Sirkman, to celebrate the 36 years that he’s been with his congregation. After combing through many of Jeff’s sermons and other writings, it was clear that “panim el panim — face to face” (or as Jeffrey likes to say it, “punim to punim”) has been a fundamental building block of his life and his rabbinate.

Billy wrote and arranged the music. Ellen and Billy wrote the lyrics together.

The concept for “Panim El Panim” is that, in our quest to find and build a relationship with God, it is in how we treat one another — from family to neighbor to the stranger in need — that we define our connection to God. It is in finding and valuing human relationship that we find and endear ourselves to God. The two Torah texts used in the piece are:

“Panim el panim,” which references Genesis 32:31 where Jacob wrestles with a Divine being and exclaims, “I have seen God face-to-face.” This text also appears in Exodus 33:11 where “God would speak to Moses face-to-face.”

“Kee raiti fanecha kir’ot p’nei Elohim,” which references Genesis 33:10 where Jacob reunites with his brother Esau after twenty years, proclaiming, “Seeing your face is like seeing the face of God.”

The recording features Beged Kefet singing live on Nov 17, 2023, at Larchmont Temple (Larchmont, NY). It was our first time singing together since 2009, fourteen years earlier! This recording also features guest soloist, Cantor Katie Oringel.

Sheet music is available in solo, duet and SATB versions, and can be accompanied by piano or full instrumental ensemble (flute, clarinet, vibraphone, electric guitar, violin, bass and keyboard).

All proceeds go to The Jonah Maccabee Foundation (jonahmac.org), “turning love into action” by supporting the arts, social activism and Jewish life.

lyrics

As I live my life may I magnify my view
So that in my friends and family I see You.
Whether standing tall or stumbling on the roads we share,
When I’m open to my loved ones You are there.
To everyone who cares for me may I selflessly turn,
Always meeting them with kindness and concern
Because these are the moments when it all becomes clear
That these are the moments when You are here.

Face to face, heart to heart,
Hand to hand, life’s the art
Of mixing colors, weaving dreams,
Sharing our humanity through
A welcoming embrace
And knowing that we’ve seen God’s face.
Kee ra-ee-tee fa-ne-cha keer-ote p’nay Eloheem.
Living life pa-neem el pa-neem.

Opening my heart beyond those whom I have known,
May I hear each person’s story as my own.
Reaching out with love and reverence, breaking down old walls,
In the sound of every voice I hear Your call.

Face to face, heart to heart,
Hand to hand, life’s the art
Of mixing colors, weaving dreams,
Sharing our humanity through
A welcoming embrace
And knowing that we’ve seen God’s face.
Kee ra-ee-tee fa-ne-cha keer-ote p’nay Eloheem.
Living life pa-neem el pa-neem.

I know You only want me to grow,
Unabashedly explore where You were hiding before,
But I was not aware that doors to You aren’t rare,
They’re everywhere.

I look around the universe, filled with awe at its design,
And I’m stunned Your image lives inside of mine.
We meet in the mirror and in everything I do.
Loving self and loving others, it’s always You shining through.

Face to face, heart to heart,
Hand to hand, life’s the art
Of mixing colors, weaving dreams,
Sharing our humanity through
A welcoming embrace
And knowing that we’ve seen God’s face.
Kee ra-ee-tee fa-ne-cha keer-ote p’nay Eloheem.
Living life pa-neem el pa-neem.
Living face to face … pa-neem el pa-neem.

credits

released February 2024
music by Billy Dreskin
words by Ellen and Billy Dreskin
arrangement by Billy Dreskin
sound engineering by Larry Alexander (Studio “L,” Congers NY)
drums by Bill Reeve

Additional information

Download Format

MP3 Audio, Lead Sheet (pdf), Piano-Vocal Score (pdf), Duet and Piano (pdf), SATB Vocal Score (pdf), Full Arrangement and Parts (pdf)

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