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by Michael Reid Winikoff

Choir (SATB) with Cantor, a cappella
Ma-ariv (Evening) Service - Yom Kippur

DURATION: 8:30 unabridged                                                       Purchase
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THE TEXT - The beautiful, soul-stirring piyyut (liturgical poem), Ya-aleh (sometimes rendered asYaale), introduces the S'lichot (penitential) section of the Yom Kippur evening service.  In its powerful simplicity, it embodies a mystical invocation of the two-way spiritual communion between the human and divine realms attributed by tradition to this profoundly sacred day of grandeur and mystery. 

Ya-aleh is remarkable for its structural minimalism, with each of the eight verses consisting of three lines of 3 words each.  Only the middle word of each line changes from verse to verse, these being arranged in inverted alphabetical acrostic.  The poem derives from another prayer,
“Ya-aleh v’yavo v’yeira-eh”
recited in the liturgy of most festivals and holy days, including the Amidah which immediately precedes this text.

THE MUSIC - This rendition makes no attempt to serve (in the way some settings do) as a vehicle for congregational singing, but is presented as a purely choral setting echoing and anticipating the characteristic musical themes and colors to be heard throughout the Day of Atonement.  It opens and closes with a musical depiction of the spiritual ladder of "ascension, arrival and descension" repeatedly referenced in the text, using a repeating pattern of close imitation in the soprano and alto, against which the solo chants a solemn invocation. 

This lengthy work may be abridged / excerpted.  

Challenge level - 4 out of 6 stars

Ya-aleh tachanuneinu mei-erev
V’yavo shav’ateinu miboker
V’yeira-eh rinuneinu ad arev

Ya-aleh koleinu mei-erev
V’yavo tzidkateinu miboker
V’yeira-eh fidyoneinu ad arev

Ya-aleh inuyeinu mei-erev
V’yavo slichateinu miboker
V’yeira-eh na-akateinu ad arev

Ya-aleh m’nuseinu mei-erev
V’yavo l’ma-ano miboker
V’yeira-eh chipureinu ad arev

Ya-aleh yish’einu mei-erev
V’yavo tohoreinu miboker
V’yeira-eh chinuneinu ad arev

Ya-aleh zichroneinu mei-erev
V’yavo vi-udeinu miboker
V’yeira-eh hadrateinu ad arev

Ya-aleh dofkeinu mei-erev
V’yavo gileinu miboker
V’yeira-eh vakashateinu ad arev

Ya-aleh enkateinu mei-erev
V’yavo eilecha miboker
V’yeira-eh eileinu ad arev

May our supplications ascend at evening,
Our pleas arrive before You in the morning,
And our songs of joy descend at dusk.

May our voice ascend at evening,
Our righteousness arrive before You at morning,
And our redemption descend with the dusk.

May our affliction ascend at evening,
Our forgiveness be granted by You at morning,
And our cries echo down at dusk.

May our faith ascend at evening,
Arrive for Your sake at morning,
And our atonement come down at dusk.

May our salvation ascend at evening,
Our purification come to You at morning,
And Your graciousness to us descend at dusk.

May our merits remembered ascend at evening,
Our assembly be perceived by You at morning,
And Your glory descend to us at dusk.

May our petition ascend at evening,
Our grateful gladness reach You at dawn,
And the granting of our request ascend at dusk.
May our cries ascend at evening,
Reach You with the dawn,
And echo down to us with the dusk.