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V'AL Y'DEI - Zichronot
by Michael Reid Winikoff

Choir (SATB or TTBB div.), Soli, organ
Musaf - Rosh Hashanah

DURATION: 9:00 unabridged                                                            Purchase

-- for SATB div
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-- for TTBB div 
   Listen/View (a cappella)
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THE LITURGY - Each of the three themed sections (Malchuyot – Sovereignty verses; Zichronot – Remembrance verses; Shofrot – Horn or Revelation verses) of the Rosh Hashanah Musaf service is comprised of ten apropos scriptural verses:  three from the Pentateuch, three from Psalms, three from Prophets, and a concluding verse again from the Pentateuch.  Each of the Prophet passages is introduced with the citational clause V’al y’dei avadecha han’vi-im, katuv leimor: (“By the hand of Your servants, the Prophets, it is written:”). 

The deep pathos of the Prophetic (Jeremiah and Ezekiel) verses serves to convey one of the profound themes of Rosh Hashanah, the undying love with which G-d remembers Israel’s loyalty and devotion, and the parental compassion with which G-d will judge “Ephraim, My beloved son … for even as I reproach him, I remember him in tenderness….” 

See full translation below.

THE MUSIC - As in most all of the musical settings, this one sets these Prophetic verses from the Remembrance section.  For all its atypical complexities (its chromaticism and polyphony), this music is firmly rooted in tradition, informed by the renditions of Todros Greenberg and Joshua Lind, making use (as they did) of the customary nusach.  The soprano/alto duet (on "...lechteich acharai bamidbar" at measure 47) is typical, as is the coda section on "...rachem arachamenu" with its vehement exchange between cantor and choir, and the concluding cadenza flourish.  

PERFORMANCE - This lengthy work may be abridged/excerpted.   See also Havein Yakir Li - separately published excerpt.

Challenge level - 5 out of 6 stars

V’al y’dei avadecha han’vi-im
Katuv leimor:

Haloch v’karata
B’aznei Y’rushalayim leimor:

Ko amar A-donay:
Zacharti lach chesed n’urayich
Ahavat k’lulotayich
Lechteich acharai bamidbar
B’eretz lo z’ruah.


V’zacharti ani et b’riti otach
Biy’mei n’urayich
Vahakimoti lach b’rit olam.


Havein yakir li Efrayim
Im yeled sha-a-shu-im
Ki midei dabri bo
Zachor ezk’renu od
Al kein hamu mei-ai lo
Racheim arachamenu
N’um A-donay.

By the hand of Your servants, the prophets,
It is written:

Go forth and proclaim
Into the ears of Jerusalem, saying:

Thus says the Lord:
I remember your youthful devotion,
The love of your betrothal,
That you followed me in the wilderness
Through an unsown land.1

And it is written:

I will remember my covenant with you
In the days of your youth;
I will establish with you an eternal covenant.2

And it is written:

Is Ephraim not my precious son,
My dearest child?
For even as I reproach him,
I remember him in tenderness.
So does my heart yearn for him;
I will surely have compassion on him,
Says the Lord.3

 Jeremiah 2:2  2 Ezekiel 16:60  3 Jeremiah 31:20