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by Michael Reid Winikoff

Choir (SATB div.) with Optional Organ
Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur

DURATION: 7:20 unabridged                                                              Purchase

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THE TEXT - Ki Kh'shimcha (traditionally rendered Ki K'shimcha) is the concluding section of the piyyut Un’ta-ne Tokef, recited in the Ashkenazic rite on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.  In stark contrast to the lurid drama of the previous sections, Ki Kh’shimcha is deeply elegiac in mood, ruminating on the transience and frailty of humankind, while emphasizing the abiding patience and compassion that G-d maintains for the sinner “to the day of his death.”  It concludes with sudden triumph, “But You are our Sovereign, ever-living G-d.” 

THE MUSIC - This setting, atypically, gives no role at all to the cantor, instead assigning the full weight of interpretation to the choir.  It is written largely in the customary “Ahava Raba” mode, in essence a Phrygian scale with a raised third degree. 

PERFORMANCE - It is important to observe with accuracy and discipline all of the extended note durations and abidingly slow tempi, which are crucial to the overall effect.  This may be the greatest challenge of the work.  It may be abridged/excerpted.  See Adaptabilities

See also related settings, Un'ta-ne Tokef, Uv'shofar Gadol, and K'vakarat.

Challenge level - 4 out of 6 stars

Ki kh’shimcha kein t’hilatecha
Kashe lichos v’noach lirtzot
Ki lo tachpotz b’mot hameit
Ki im b’shuva midarka v’chaya
V’ad yom moto t’chake lo
Im yashuv miyad t’kablo
Emet ki ata hu yotzram
V’ata yodeia yitzram
Ki heim basar vadam
Adam y’sodo mei-afar
V’sofo le’afar
B’nafsho yavi lachmo
Mashul k’cheres hanishbar
K’chatzir yaveish
Uch’tzitz noveil
K’tzeil o-ver
Uch’anan kaleh
Uch’ruach noshavet
Uch’avak poreiach
V’chachalom ya’uf
V’ata hu melech Eil chai v’kayam

For as is Your name, so is Your praise:
Slow to anger, and ready to forgive.
You do not wish the demise of the sinner,
But that he return from his evil path and live.
To the day of his death, You await his return,
Whereupon You welcome him in compassion.
Truly, You the Creator
Know the nature of Your creatures,
For they are but flesh and blood.
Humanity is born of the dust,
And returns to the dust.
Earning bread at life’s peril.
As the fragile shard,
As the withering grass,
As the fading flower,
As the passing shadow,
As the fleeting cloud,
As the fugitive breeze,
As the drifting dust,
As the vanishing dream.
But You are our Sovereign G-d eternal.