Archive for door

“Baym tir fun gan-eydn” Performed by Mimi Erlich and Hasia Goldberg-Gering

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2021 by yiddishsong

Baym tir fun gan-eydn / At the door of Paradise
Sung by Mimi Erlich and Hasia Goldberg-Gering
Ehrlich recorded by Itzik Gottesman at KlezKanada, St. Agathe, Quebec, approx. 2007;
Gering-Goldberg recording from the Music Department of the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem, recorded 1980.

Courtesy of the Yiddish Book Center
“Baym tir fun gan-eydn” sung by Mimi Erlich

For Hasia Gering-Goldberg’s version, please click here and listen from 42:54 to 44:06.

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

My interest in this song began when Mimi Erlich z”l, a teacher and accomplished musician, approached me while waiting for dinner outside the dining hall at the KlezKanada festival. She sang what she remembered from her mother. Erlich recently passed and and in her memory I put this blog together.  A video interview with her can be found at the Wexler Oral History Project at the Yiddish Book Center. 

A fine recording of the song by Hasya Gering-Goldberg is from the on-line holdings of the Music Department at the National Library in Jerusalem. It is more complete than Erlich’s though the second verse is cut-off. I have transcribed and translated the versions of Gering-Goldberg and Erlich. The music and words of one verse of a similar version can be found in Abraham Idelsohn’s monumental Thesaurus of Hebrew-Oriental Melodies (1914-1932), Volume 9, #724 (please see scans below). Several texts were sent to A. Forsher for his column “Pearls of the Yiddish Poets” in the Forverts newspaper (scans below). But so far the authorship of this song has not been found. In a poetry collection of Aron Kriwitzky he includes a longer, fuller text for the song (below).

So we have 6 variants of the song, all of them from Lithuania:

1) Idelsohn vol. 9, text and music.
2 & 3)  In the “Perl” column Jan. 23, 1972, second section page 13. there is a version by Paula Segal and one by Henye Shenkman.
4) Erlich, recording.
5) Goldberg-Gering, recording.
6) The extended version found in Aron Kriwitzky’s collection.

Thanks to Yiddish teacher and researcher Eliezer Niborski for finding the Goldberg-Gering recording and the text in Aron Kriwitzky’s poetry collection. Thanks also to Jill Horowitz, friend of Mimi Erlich, and  to Gila Flam, head of the Music Deptartment at the National Library, Jerusalem.

Verson of Hasia Goldberg-Gering (חסיה גולדברג-גרינג)

“Der gan-eydn” [ spoken: “Paradise”]

Baym tir fun gan-eydn
shteyen malokhim on a shir.
Mentshn viln arayngeyn reydn
nor men halt zey op bay der tir. 

At the door to paradise
stand many angels. 
People want to enter and speak
but they are stopped at the door.

Mikhoyl, Gavril haltn di bikher.
Me leyent zey for zeyer zind.
Un yeder eyner vil vos gikher
in gan-eydn arayn geshvind.

Michael, Gabriel are keeping the books.
They read their sins to them .
And everyone wants, as fast as possible,
to enter paradise quickly.

Nor me shtupt zey op mit beyde hent.
Men farmakht far zey di tir.
“Geyt in gehenem un vert farbrent.
Der gan-eydn iz nit far dir!”

But they are pushed away  with both hands.
The door is closed for them. 
“Go to hell and burn:
Paradise is not for you!”

Kumt tsu geyn a kheynevdike yidene
mit a horband a reytn,
mit korbn-minkhes* un mit  siderlekh farshidene
un mit a kop a bloyzn.

A charming woman arrives
with a red headband,
with korbn-minkhes* and various prayer books,
and with an uncovered head.

Avek fun danet du arura
Du host zikh gefirt fardorbn.

Away from here you cursed women.
You led a corrupted life

Korbn-minkhe* : a woman’s prayer book written in Yiddish.

בײַם טיר פֿון גן־עדן
.שטייען מלאכים אָן אַ שיעור
מענטשן ווילן אַרײַנגיין רעדן
.נאָר מען האַלט זיי אָפּ בײַ דער טיר.

מיכאל, גבֿריאל האַלטן די ביכער
.מע לייענט זיי פֿאָר זייער זינד.
און יעדער איינער וויל וואָס גיכער
.אין גן־עדן אַרײַן געשווינד.

נאָר מע שטופּט זיי אָפּ מיט ביידע הענט
.מען פֿאַרמאַכט פֿאַר זיי די טיר.
גייט אין גיהנום און ווערט פֿאַרברענט”
“!דער גן־עדן איז ניט פֿאַר דיר

קומט צו גיין אַ חנעוודיקע ייִדענע
.מיט אַ האָרבאַנד אַ רייטן
מיט קרבן־מינחהס און סידערלער פֿאַרשידענע
.און מיט אַ קאָפּ אַ בלויזן

!אַוועק פֿון דאַנעט דו ארורה
.דו האָסט זיך געפֿירט פֿאַרדאָרבן

Version of Mimi Erlich

Bay dem tir fun gan-eydn
shteyen yidn on a shir.
Yederer vil epes reydn

Men shtupt zey avek
mit beyde hent.

Gey in gehenim un ver farbrent!
Der gan-eydn iz nit far dir.

At the door of paradise,
many people are standing.
Everyone wants to say something

They are pushed away
with both hands.

Go to hell and burn.
Paradise is not for you!

בײַם טיר פֿון גן־עדן
.שטייען מענטשן אָן אַ שיעור
יעדער וויל עפּעס ריידן

מען שטופּט זיי אַוועק
.מיט ביידע הענט

!גיי אין גיהנום און ווער פֿאַרברענט
.דער גן־עדן איז נישט פֿאַר דיר

From Abraham Idelsohn, Thesaurus of Hebrew Oriental Melodies (1914-1932), Vol 9, #724:

From A. Forsher’s column “Pearls of the Yiddish Poets” in the Forverts, Jan. 23, 1972, second section, page 13. Presenting versions from Paula Segal and Henye Shenkman:

From Aron Kriwitzky’s Collection (published in Israel):

“Tseyde-laderekh” Performed by Moti Friedman and Serl Birnholtz

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2020 by yiddishsong

Tseyde-laderekh / Provisions for the Journey (A Hasidic Song)
Commentary by Janet Leuchter and Itzik Gottesman

This week we bring two performances of a Hasidic song, Tseyde-laderekh (Provisions for the Journey). In Moti Friedman’s version we hear a representation of the Hasidic men’s singing tradition. In Serl Birnholtz’s version, the song becomes more “folky,” both textually and musically. The transcription and translation of both versions is found after the commentary. Birnholtz’s version is also presented in Yiddish, attached below. 

Version 1 sung by Moti Friedman, recorded by Janet Leuchter, New York City, 1985:

Version 2 sung by Serl Birnholtz, recorded by Itzik Gottesman, Bronx 1985

Cantor Janet Leuchter has written an extensive article on this song “Provisions for the Journey; a Rarity in the Lost Field of Yiddish Song” in the Journal of Synagogue Music, Volume 35, 2010, which can be read at by clicking here (see pages 120-144).

For this Yiddish Song of the Week post Leuchter has written the following summation:

Tseydo laderekh (or ladorekh) is a song that likely originated in religious circles in the 19th century.  It’s rarely heard and has never appeared in printed collections, but a few variants are known orally among some Hasidim and their descendants.  Tseydo laderekh (Hebrew) is a biblical expression that means “food for the road”—or more broadly, “provisions for the journey.” In medieval rabbinic writing, the expression often came to mean the type of mitzvot (religious commandments) defined as good deeds (rather than rituals). In the 19th century, tseydo laderekh was used in moralistic literature that had wide circulation among the Jewish masses as well as in Lithuanian yeshivot and Hasidic circles. 

tseydu4

The song could be categorized as a musar lid, a didactic song with text urging moral behavior. The song’s relatively complex structure suggests a folklorized sermon or poem. Its melody is suggestive of traditional talmudic study mode (lernen shteyger). The broad melodic form is typical of a Yiddish religious genre that alternates between non-metered verses (as in Ashkenazi study and prayer) and a metered chorus. In another variant, the melody and text are more extended, with the melody rising in pitch and dramatic intensity like a hasidic nign (wordless melody). But instead of returning to the initial melody, it descends to a third section, before returning to a one-line metered chorus.  

Tseydo Ladorekh – Moti Friedman’s version
Transcribed and Translated by Janet Leuchter with assistance from Sheva Zucker

TRANLITERATION (Friedman/Leuchter)

Tseydo-ladorekh nemt aykh,
brider, mit.

Ven ayner gayt uf a veyg,
upgetsaylte tsvay dray teg,
esn darf er zakh mitneymen meyr.
In es kimt fur zeyer oft,
shlekhte tsaytn umferhof,
az der ban ken nisht vayter geyn.

Tsi ist amul a vint in a shney,
di veg iz in gantsn ferveynt [farveyt?-IG],
der ban ken nisht vayter geyn.

Derum ven ayner furt uf a rayze
darf er zakh mitneymen meyr shpayze
hingerik vet er nit darfn zayn.

(Refrain): Tseydo, tseydo-ladorekh
aykh, brider, mit. 

Der ver es tit zikh furbraytn der laydet kayn
Tseydo nemt aykh, brider, mit ahin,
vayl oyfn veyg ken men shoyn gur nisht tin.
Tseydo ladorekh nemt aykh, brider, mit.

Aroys, der groyser gevir,
vus shoymrim shteyen bay dayn tir.
Efsher hosti a mentshlekh gefil?
In ven es kimt ayn uremen tsi dir,
efen im oyf brayt dayn tir,
im empfangen mitn gantsn harts.

Bevurn ikh dir, brider, du,
kdey di zolst hubn of yenem shu,
in efsher vet dir dort beser zayn.

Bevurn ikh dir, brider, mayn leben,
in efsher vet men ayn shvakh upgeyben.
In efsher vet dir dort beser zayn.

(Refrain…)

Tsi hosti aynem gringer gemakht?
Tsi hosti aynem nitsn tsebrakht?
Tsi hosti geholfn oy an uriman?

(Bevurn ikh… )

(Refrain)

TRANSLATION (Friedman/Leuchter)

Provisions for the journey,
brothers, take with you. 

When one goes on his way
for two, three days,
he must bring more food with him.

And very often (hopefully not)
bad times occur
When the train cannot go further.

Sometimes there are wind and snow,
the road is bleary
the train cannot go farther.

Therefore when one goes on a trip,
he must bring with him more food
so that he does not go hungry.            

(Refrain) Provisions for the journey, 

The one who prepares never suffers.
Provisions, brothers, take with you there,
for on the road nothing more can be done. 

Provisions for the way, brothers, take with you.

Come out, wealthy man,
whose guards stand by your gate!
Have you maybe a human feeling?
And when a poor man comes to you,
open wide your door
and receive him with all your heart.

I warn you here, brother,
so that you will not go lacking at that hour
and perhaps you’ll be better off.
I warn you, my dear brother,
and perhaps you will be praised
and perhaps your way will be better there. 

(Refrain…)

Have you eased someone’s path?
Have you been of use to someone?
Have you helped a poor man?
(I warn you here brother….)

(Refrain)

A Note About the Singer Serl Birnholtz by Itzik Gottesman:

My father’s younger sister, Aunt Serl (nee Gottesman) Birnholtz, was visiting us in the Bronx from Holon, Israel and sang this Hasidic song at our dining room table. She was born in Siret, Romania (Seret in Yiddish) in 1927 and she emigrated to Israel after the war. Siret was home to one of the Vishnitzer rebbes and also had many followers of the Sadagerer Rebbe.

SerlGitlLouis

Serl Birnholtz with Louis Birnholtz and Serl’s mother Gitl Gottesman in Israel, late 1940s

I have heard only one recorded version of this song; that is on the CD Gramen fun altn kheyder, produced by the Bobov Hasidim in Brooklyn. (Yiddish text attached). This recording features the singing of the Ziditshoyver Rebbe, who stems from a Galician Hasidic dynasty. The third and fourth verses of his version are completely different from Birnholtz’s and she sings it with a much faster tempo. Also changed to a folkier Yiddish language are a number of Germanisms that one hears in Moti Friedman’s version. 

 TRANSLITERATION of Serl Birnholtz’s version by Itzik Gottesman

Chorus:

Tseydu, tseydu tseydu-laderekh nem dir brider mit.
Vayl der vos nemt zikh tseydu mit,
hingert keym mul nisht.
Tseydu nem dir mit ahin,
vayl oyf dem veyg kenst gornisht tin.
Tseydu-laderekh nem dir brider mit. 

Az eyner furt afn veyg
af getseylte tsvey, dray teyg,
tseydu zol er zikh mitnemen oyf mer.
Vayl es treft zikh zeyer oft,
az der shlekhter veyg farkhapt im dort.
Ungreytn darf men zikh af mer. 

Tseydu, tseydu tseydu-laderekh nem dir brider mit.
Vayl ver es nemt tseydu mit,
hingert keyn mul nisht.
Tseydu nem dir mit ahin,
vayl oyf dem veyg kenst gornisht tin.
Tseydu-laderekh nem dir brider mit. 

Her oys du groyser gvir,
vos vekhter shteyen far dayn tir
un dayn froy of pyane shpilt.
Az eyner munt bay dir
efnt zolst far im di tir.
Helf im gikher, zay nisht opgekilt.

Di mitsves ba dan leybn
kedey me zol dir a gitn shvakh nukhgeybn.
Barekhn dir ven du bist in der noyt.
Di neshume zi geyt oys;
far keyn shim gelt koyft men zi oys.
Ungreytn darf men zikh af mer 

Tseydu, tseydu tseydu-laderekh nem zhe  brider mit.
Vayl ver es nemt zikh tseydu mit,
hingert keyn mul nisht.
Tseydu nem dir mit ahin,
vayl oyf dem veyg kenst gornisht tin.
Tseydu-laderekh nem dir brider mit. 

TRANSLATION (Birnholtz/Gottesman)

Chorus:

Provisions for the journey take along,
for he who takes these provisions along
will never hunger.
Provisions take with you there
Because on the way you can do nothing
Provisions for the journey take along.

When someone travels on the way
for just a couple of days.
He should take more provisions along.
Because it happens very often
that the journey could be bad,
Prepare to take extra!

Listen you very wealthy man,
for whom guards stand at your door,
and your wife plays on the piano.
If someone asks you for something,
open wide the door for him.
Help him faster, do not turn cold.

The good deeds you have done in your life
so that one can praise you.
Think about it when you are in need.
The soul is extinguished.
and no amount of money can help you out.
Prepare yourself with more!

(Refrain)

Below transcription of of Tseydu-laderekh as sung by Serl Birnholtz, 1985 (transcription by Itzik Gottesman)

tseydu5

tseydu6tseydu7

Below transcription from the CD Gramen fun altn kheyder, produced by the Bobov Hasidim in Brooklyn:

tseydu1

tseydu2

tseydu3

“Fun vanen nemen zikh di libes?” Performed by Lifshe Schaechter-Widman

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 19, 2019 by yiddishsong

Fun vanen nemen zikh di libes? / How do romances begin?
Sung by Lifshe Schaechter-Widman, recorded by Leybl Kahn 1954, The Bronx, New York City

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

Though once fairly well-known and found in field recordings and several printed collections, I do not believe this lyric love song was ever recorded commercially other than on the CD Bay mayn mames shtibele, sung by Lifshe Schaechter-Widman’s (LSW’s) daughter Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman. Here we present a version by LSW herself.

Lifshe1972Lifshe Schaechter-Widman, 1972

In the I. L. Cahan collection (1957) there are three versions of the song (#26, 27, 28) from the Kiev region, the Vilna region and Podolia region; so the song has been “traveling” over a wide area for a while. One of the verses in those versions (#27)  continues the counting of excuses:

Dem dritn terets zolstu zogn,
du host dikh gelernt shvimen.
Dem fertn terets zolstu zogn,
az du host dayn tsayt bakumen [bakimen]

The third excuse you should give
is that you were learning how to swim.
The fourth excuse you should give
is that you are having your period.

Thus making this the only Yiddish song I have found so far that mentions menstruation.

YIDDISH TRANSLITERATION & TRANSLATION

Fun vanet nemen zikh di libes
fin deym shpeytn in fin dem lakhn.
Indzer libe hot zikh geshlosn,
in eyne, tsvey of der nakhtn.

How do romances begin?
From mocking and from laughing.
Our love was sealed –
during one, two evenings.

Tsvelef shlugt zikh shoyn der zeyger.
Fir mekh up aheym.
Vus far a terets vel ikh zugn
Bay mayn mamen in der heym?

The clock has already rung twelve.
Take me home.
What excuse will I say
at my mother’s at home?

Dem ershtn teyrets zo’sti zugn,
az di host geneyet shpeyt.
Dem tsveytn teyrets vesti zugn –
az di host geblondzet dem veyg.

The first excuse you should give
is that you sewed late.
The second excuse you should give
is that you got lost on the way.

Vus toyg mir dayne teyritsem.
Fir mekh up ahem.
Di mame vet dus tirele farshlisn,
in droysn vel ikh blaybn shteyn.

What do I need your excuses for?
Take me home.
Mother will lock the door
and I will be stuck outside.
FunVanetYIDSnip