Happy Iyar! Song for the month, a poem, and more

It’s Rosh Chodesh Iyar, the beginning of a new lunar month. Happy Iyar!

Our Song for the Month this month is Ana B’Koach, which I posted about last week. When I shared it last week, it was in the context of a post about counting the Omer, since this prayer is traditionally sung after one counts the Omer for the day.

In the post I made last week, I shared a recording of myself singing the whole prayer in English, according to the translation crafted by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. We’ll be singing just the first and last line of this prayer as our Song for the Month when I lead davenen here this month. Here’s they are:

אנא בכח גדולת ימינך תתיר צרורה
ברוך שם כבוד מלכותו לעולם ועד
Ana b’koach, gedulat y’mincha, tatir tz’rurah.
Baruch shem k’vod malchuto l’olam va’ed.
Source of mercy, with loving strength, untie our tangles.
Through time and space, Your glory shines, Majestic One!

And here are recordings of two melodies for this prayer:

Ana B’Choach, sung by Rabbi Daniel Siegel, to a melody by Rabbi Hana Tiferet Siegel: https://congregationbethisrael.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/ana-bchoach.mp3

Ana B’Koach, sung by me, to a niggun melody from the Rizhyner rebbe: https://congregationbethisrael.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/anabkoach1.mp3

As a treat for the new month of Iyar, here’s a new poem for this new month, written by my friend and colleague Judy Young. In the next-to-last stanza, Judy draws on a teaching from Reb Nachman of Bratzlav, who reads the name “Iyar” as an acronym for the phrase Ani Adonai rofecha, “I am God, your healer.” Enjoy!

Poem for Iyar

The barley ripens
The Season of the Omer celebrates the sprouting grain.
Each day the light increases and
Fresh breezes clean out the dark places.

We journey from the grains of liberation to the bread of Torah
From the potential of freedom to the realization of vision.
Like our plant friends, we move
From buds to blossoms to ripening fruit.

Earth energy strengthens the trees and plants
The time has come to harvest the healing herbs.
Iyar – “ Ani Adonai rofecha” —
“I am Adonai your healer,” or so Reb Nachman says.

And we count, trying to make each day count,
On our journey from Egypt to Sinai.
We re-connect with Mother Earth
Who births us into the people Israel.

— Judy Young


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