“Yes to next Shabbat!” Inviting the angels to return soon …
Kein LaShabbat Haba’ah – Composition, lyrics and audio © Alexander Massey, 30 July 2011
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This piece is a chance to have some fun. The idea came to me one Saturday evening. I always feel a little pang of sadness as the weekly holiday comes to an end, and we say goodbye to Shabbat. So I wanted to find an upbeat way to end Shabbat and begin the new week – the more vigour and hilarity the better!
I took the idea for the text of this partly from a poem by Bialik, and partly from an idea of Debbie Friedman’s. The end of Bialik’s poem reads “Yes, to next Shabbat! Depart [tzeitchem] in peace, messengers of peace.” I learned Debbie Friedman’s setting of the Shabbat song Shalom Aleichem from her just a few days before she died. She added an extra verse, shuvchem l’shalom, ‘return in peace’, because she wasn’t happy to say goodbye to the Shabbat angels so quickly! So this song includes the words, tzeitchem l’shalom and shuv’chem l’shalom, ‘depart’ and ‘return’.
- This is a 24 bar tune. In bar 9, after the last note of part 1, move to the last beat of part two (Tzeit…) and continue with part two from bar 2. After the last hashalom of part 2 (bar 9), start on Yai in bar 2 of part 3.
- For quick learning, assign one part to each voice, giving part 1 (Kein LaShabbat …) to the most musically confident.
- Singers are encouraged to work out their own performance version of this piece. For example, in performing rounds, I like to do a complete statement of the whole tune first, then to restate with just one other part before layering in the rest of the parts. That way, we can enjoy the interplay between the lines before the texture becomes completely filled out with all the voices. It also works well to have a section where all the voices are singing ‘Yai didi dai dai’ in unison, or to try pairings of different parts.