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Abby Gostein

Lyrics for Each Blessing

All music and lyrics by Abby Bernstein Gostein, unless otherwise noted


Dedicated to Congregation Sha’aray Shalom, Hingham, MA

Blessed are we to be here together
Blessed are we, Hineh Mah Tov!                     (Behold How Good!)
Surrounded by and upholding each other
Blessed are we, encircled in love

Blessed be the ones who enter these gates (B’ruchim Haba’im)                (Blessed be those who come / Welcome!)
Those blown in on the winds of fate (B’ruchim Haba’im)
Those who enter seeking a home (B’ruchim Haba’im)
It is here that you will find Shalom (B’ruchim Haba’im)

Blessed are we to have entered here
Blessed be those who’ll come tomorrow
Blessed be those who come in joy
Blessed be those enduring sorrow
Blessed may we be as we go on our way
Blessed may we be as we return here
Blessed may we be if we can
Remember the many things we’ve learned here


For Berta and Charles Gojer on their 50th wedding anniversary
Hebrew text: Shir Hashirim 6:3

Ani l’dodi v’dodi li                                               (I am my beloved’s  and my beloved is mine)
I am my beloved’s, my beloved is mine                        
Ani l’dodi v’dodi li
We have shared blessings, blessings through time

Yo soy de mi amado, mi amado es mio         (I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine)
Toda una vida compartida de amantes y compañeros               (A life shared – as lovers and partners)

Ani l’dodi v’dodi li
I am my beloved’s, my beloved is mine
Ani l’dodi v’dodi li
We have shared blessings, blessings through time
We will share blessings, blessings through time

3.    L’CHU N’RAN’NA

Commissioned by the Women Cantors' Network, 2006
Hebrew text: Psalm 95:1-2

L’chu n’ran’nah L’Adonai                                                (Come, let us sing to the Eternal)
L’chu n’ran’na, let our voices ring
L’chu n’ran’nah L’Adonai
L’chu n’ran’na, come let us sing!

Naria, naria l’tzur yisheinu                                                (Let us sing out to our Sheltering Rock)
Naria naria – You are our shelter
Naria, naria l’tzur yisheinu
Naria naria – You are our strength.

N’kadmah fanav b’todah                                 (Let us come before God with thanks)
Bizmirot naria lo
We come before You with thanksgiving
We come before You, our voices strong.

4.    SH’MA

Text: Deuteronomy 6:4

Sh’ma Yisrael Adonai eloheinu, Adonai eloheinu
Adonai echad
Baruch shem, shem k’vod malchuto, shem k’vod malchuto
L’olam va’ed

(Hear, O Israel: The Eternal is our God, the Eternal God is One. Blessed is God’s glorious majesty forever and ever)


Text: Exodus 15:11, 15:2, 15:18, Jeremiah 31:10, Liturgy

Mi-chamocha ba’eilim Adonai
Mi kamocha nedar bakodesh
Nora t’hilot oseh feleh (2x)

Mal’chut’cha ra’u vanecha
bokei’a yam lifnei Moshe
Zeh eili! anu v’amru:
Adonai yimloch l’olam va’ed!
V’ne’emar ki fada Adonai et Ya’akov
U-g’alo miyad chazak mimenu
Baruch ata Adonai ga’al Yisrael.

(Who is like You, Eternal One, among the gods that are worshipped?  Who is like You, majestic in holiness, awesome in splendor, doing wonders?  In their escape from the sea, Your children saw Your sovereign might displayed. "This is my God!" they cried. "The Eternal will reign forever and ever!" And it has been said: The Eternal One delivered Jacob and redeemed us from the hand of one stronger than ourselves. We praise You, O God, Redeemer of Israel.)

6.    V’SHAMRU

Text: Exodus 31:16-18

V’shamru v’nei Yisrael et haShabbat
La’asot et haShabbat l’dorotam b’rit olam, V’sham’ru

Beini uvein b’nei Yisrael ot hi l’olam
Beini uvein b’nei Yisrael ot hi l’olam, V’sham’ru

Ki sheishet yamim asa Adonai et hashamayim v’et ha’aretz
Uvayom hash-vi’i, shavat vayinafash

(And the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath in every generation as an eternal covenant. Between Me and the Children of Israel it is a sign forever, for in six days God made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day God rested and was refreshed.)

7.    YISM’CHU

Text: Liturgy

Yai lai lai lai lai (3x) Ya lai lai la lai, lai lai lai
Yai lai lai lai lai (3x) Ya lai lai lai lai

Yism’chu v’mal’chut’cha
Shomrei Shabbat, shomrei Shabbat
Yism’chu v’mal’chut’cha
Shom’rei Shabbat v’korei oneg

Am m’kad’shei sh’vi’i
Kulam yisb’u v’yitangu mituvecha
Vehash’vi’i ratsita bo v’kidashto

Chemdat yamim oto karata
Zeicher l’ma’asei v’reishit.

(Those who keep the Sabbath and call it a delight will rejoice in Your deliverance.  All who hallow the seventh day will be gladdened by Your goodness.  This day is Israel’s festival of the spirit, sanctified and blessed by You, the most precious of days, a symbol of the joy of creation.)


Hebrew text: Psalm 19:15

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart
Be acceptable to you, O God, my Rock and my Redeemer

Y'hiyu l'ratzon imrey fi v'hegyon libi l'fanecha
Adonai tzuri v'goali


Text: Liturgy

Oseh shalom bimromav hu ya’aseh shalom aleinu
V’al kol Yisrael v’al kol yoshvei teiveil v’im’ru, v’im’ru amein, amein

Hu ya’aseh, hu ya’aseh shalom…
(May the One who makes peace reign in the heavens cause peace to reign amongst us, all Israel, and all the inhabitants of the world, and we say: Amen.)


In honor of Rabbi Stephen A. Karol
Hebrew text: Psalm 139

Ya lai lai…

If I take up the wings of the morning
And dwell on a distant shore
There Your hand will lead me;
Your right hand will hold me forever

Esa chanfei shachar, esh’k’nah b’acharit yam
Gam-sham yad’cha tancheini v’tochazeini y’minecha


Dedicated to the memory of my father, Frank Bernstein z”l
Adapted from a selection by Richard N. Levy from Gates of Prayer, © 1975 by the CCAR,
used by permission

It is hard to sing of oneness when our world is not complete,
When the ones who brought us wholeness now are gone
Yet the fullness of their life is part of what we have become
And their spirit in our memory lives on
Chorus: Hamakom y'nacheim etchem (3x) b'toch sh'ar aveiley Tzion Viyrushalayim 
(May God comfort you amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem)
It is hard to sing of oneness when our world is not complete,
When we feel as though we walk the path alone
Now, with memory to guide us, give us strength to find our way
Grant us courage to remember and to grow


Guest Vocalist, Cantor Michael Smolash
and Martha Mortensen Dugeon, Piano

12.    R’TZEH

Text: Liturgy   Keyboard arr: Jonathan Comisar

R’tzeh Adonai eloheinu, b’amcha Yisrael
U-t’filatam b’ahavah t’kabeil
U-ti’hi l’ratzon tamid Avodat Yisrael amecha
Eil karov l’chol kor’av
P’nei el avadecha v’choneinu
Sh’foch ruchacha aleinu v’techezenah eineinu,
B’shuv’cha l’Tziyon b’rachamim

R’tzeh Adonai eloheinu, b’amcha Yisrael
U-t’filatam b’ahavah t’kabeil
U-ti’hi l’ratzon tamid avodat Yisrael amecha
Baruch Atah Adonai hamachazir sh’chinato l’Tziyon

(Look with favor, Adonai our God, toward Your people Israel, and receive our prayers with love. May our worship always be acceptable to You. You are near to all who seek You. Turn to Your servants and be gracious to us. Pour out Your spirit upon us. May our eyes gaze upon your return to Zion with mercy. Blessed are You, Adonai, whose Presence gives life to Zion.


Commissioned by Cantor Michael and Denise Shochet
on the occasion of their son, Zachary's, Bar Mitzvah

Hebrew: Translation of a Yiddish folk saying   English: Adapted from words by Michael Shochet

May God bless you as you begin this journey and sustain you as you find your way,
And inspire you with the love of family and friends and the dream of generations to come.

Kol yeled meivi et birchotav laolam (2x)                       (Each child brings his/her own blessing to the world)

You bring blessing to those who surround you and to the world around you
With your blessings, may you light the way, to bring goodness, compassion and peace in our day.