Simchat Torah Revue

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Simchat Torah doesn’t get more fun than this! The entire Torah told in song!

Description

Here’s a novel way to celebrate Simchat Torah. This is a really upbeat, exciting way to observe Simchat Torah’s traditional Torah ritual. When it comes time to read Torah, use this song to punctuate your readings, and to review the content of the Five Books as well. Choose either to play the full recordings (with Ellen and Billy singing) for folks to hear (or even better, provide lyrics so they can sing along!) or just play the instrumental recordings and sing it yourselves (solo, duet, choir and/or everybody). And if you decide to do it all yourselves, we’ve got you covered.

We’ve included a track with only guitar accompaniment to demonstrate that it can be done this way too:

Parts one through six each precede a reading from the Torah. Part seven follows your final “review” reading. Then, depending on your preference, you may then want to read the last verses of Deuteronomy and the first verses of Genesis, just to get the tradition in. And there’s one final recording that’s just instrumental, which you can use to roll up the Torah.

The lyrics for the “Simchat Torah Revue” were written by Rabbi Elka Abrahamson. Billy wrote the music. We very much hope you enjoy and benefit from our work.

lyrics

Ladies and gents, before you unrolled:
The Jews’ glorious story all told in a scroll.
Each letter is perfect. You won’t find mistakes.
Look closely, my friends, and of the Torah we will partake.

“In the beginning,” the Torah will start.
A “bet,” oversized, is the story’s first mark.
It’s closed on the backside, the bottom, the top.
Don’t think, “What’s before it?” The “bet” signals “Stop!”

***** ***** *****

Day one, two, three, four, five, day six, then day seven.
Adonai the Creator takes a day off in heaven.
Meanwhile below, the population’s growing.
Adam and eve meet a snake. Human weakness is showing.

Children are born. There’s Cain and there is Abel.
They’ve got lots of big problems. A murderer Cain is labeled.
In fact, a generation of bad eggs we find.
Except for Noah and some animals, the whole world’s left behind.

A forty day flood. Zap! The world is missing.
But God has a plan, so no booing or hissing.
Never again will all people die.
And to prove it, a rainbow is put in the sky.

Our forefathers and mothers now arrive on the scene.
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob with his dreams.
They all have a tie with our God that won’t end,
Because they’re told that from their families all the Jews will descend.
Genesis tells us of their lives and their times.
People with problems like yours and like mine.

***** ***** *****

A space in the scripture. A new book. Sh’mot!
The story of Moses in his little lifeboat.
The greatest of leaders whose story is told
In this book we call Exodus. A tale very bold.

From slavery to freedom, our people do flee.
Escaping through water, the split of a sea.
With cheering and dancing, for slavery is gone,
Miriam leads the people in her famous Red Sea song.

***** ***** *****

They camp in the desert before their big shlep.
In search of a Promised Land, the Israelites will trek.
But first to Mount Sinai where, awaiting God’s word,
The people cry to Aaron, “This is absurd!
Enough of this waiting! Let’s build us an idol!”
Hence, the Golden Calf story which you learned as a child.

You know what happened then. The Ten Commandments were received.
One, two, three, on up through ten. Boy, Moses was relieved!
An ark was built in which the Jews would keep their Torah covered.
Above it was the place where God’s cloud or fire would hover.

***** ***** *****

On to Leviticus, to Vayikra, we go.
Our devotion to God, through sacrifice we show.
A pigeon, or a lamb, or a bull (or two).
Says the Priest on the altar, “God, this bird’s for You!”

But it’s holiness, we’re told, that gives life its meaning.
“Love neighbor like self” is the Torah’s true leaning.
Now welcome to Numbers, the journey isn’t done.
Forty years of wandering is not too much fun.

The people are tired, they’re kvetchy, they’re grumbling.
They want a home cooked meal, their stomachs are rumbling.
“Moses,” they yell. “Where’s the beef? We want some meat!
We’re tired of having nothing but manna to eat!”

***** ***** *****
Moses picks some elders to help lead the crew.
With six hundred thousand people, I’d get helpers. Wouldn’t you?
Now it’s water that they’re after, and they want it right now!
So with a stick, an angry Moses hit the rock. Pow! Pow!

This he will pay for. To the Land, he’ll not go.
From afar, he may see it, but its ground he’ll never know.
In the book of Deuteronomy. The Torah’s last book.
He climbs up a mountain to get a good look.

And all the tribes send delegates to enter the Land.
Their report looks good. The milk and honey’s at hand!
But since Moses can’t go ‘cause he was thrown out of the game,
He selects a new leader. Joshua is his name.

***** ***** *****

The laws are then repeated. The people all listen.
Once again, there’s no booin’ or hissin’.
Moses, his lengthy life nearing its end,
His thoughts in a poem to the people he sends.
He’s written down the Law. To us it is handed.
That’s the end of the story. “Study Torah,” we’re commanded.

Just one more thing which we all must say.
When we finish any book in the Torah, we pray:
Chazak, chazak, v’nitchazek.
In the Torah, we find strength, and its strength we take.

Ladies and gents, before you unrolled:
The Jews’ glorious story all told in a scroll.
Each letter is perfect. You won’t find mistakes.
Look closely, my friends,
And of the Torah we will partake!

credits

released October 1985
words by Rabbi Elka Abrahamson
music and arrangement by Billy Dreskin
vocals by Ellen and Billy Dreskin
keyboards and computer programming: Billy Dreskin

Additional information

Downloadable Format

MP3 Audio (all versions instrumental, vocal, guitar, all-in-one, each part separately), Piano-Vocal Score plus Lead Sheet (pdf), Full Arrangement (all parts, pdf)

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