I am writing this from the dining room of a sweet, retired director of religious education who has provided home hospitality for me and colleague Amy Zucker Morgenstern in Peterborough, New Hampshire, where yesterday we celebrated the installation of Diana McLean.

It’s entirely possible the sweetness of this woman, and of Amy, and of Diana, and of yesterday’s celebration, has infected me… and as I finished singing this hymn, I thought, “wow, what a sweet hymn.”

Now I admit that some of the sweetness is in the tune – it is a delightful dance by Polish violinist Leon Lewandowski, so seemingly familiar that I was sure we had other hymns set to it.

But are the lyrics really so sweet?

O hear, my people, hear me well: “I have no need for sacrifice;
but mercy, loving kindness shall alone for life and good suffice.”

Then source of peace, lead us to peace, a place profound, and wholly true.
And lead us to a mastery o’er drives in us that war pursue.

May deeds we do inscribe our names as blessings in the Book of Life.
O source of peace, lead us to heal. O source of peace, lead us from strife.

These words, from Rabbit Nachman of Bratzlav, reflect his ministry during the late 1700s, which was informed by both in-depth study of the Torah and the esoteric Kabbalah. It is a prayer of self-knowledge, searching, spiritual deepening, and deep care of each other.

So, yeah. Despite the declarative “o hear, my people”… this is a sweet hymn.


I was hoping Jacqui James would bail me out today.

I was really hoping there would be some long explanation of the origins of this song – that the lyricist, Ehud Manor, had written this in response to a particular moment/tragedy/event that I could expand upon, or that the composer, Nurit Hirsch, had discovered an ancient melody that he modernized in a unique way.  Something. ANYTHING to capture my interest as we come to the close of this seemingly endless section In Time To Come.

But no, in Between the Lines, James has written simply this:

Well hell.

Okay, so there’s no there there. It’s just another song expressing belief in a better tomorrow. In case we didn’t have enough of those already in the hymnal.

Now be clear: I like this one. I am fond of whatever quality it is that makes Jewish music distinctive, despite being not at all Jewish. It’s easy to sing, it’s got better than decent lyrics, and it’s going to be with me all day because of its prime ear worm qualities. I have used it and will used it. I just don’t have anything else to say about it. It’s a song. A good, decent, hopeful song.

Soon the day will arrive when we will be together,
and no longer will we live in fear.
And the children will smile without wondering whether
on that day thunderclouds will appear.

Wait and see, wait and see what a world there can be
if we share, if we care, you and me.
Wait and see, wait and see what a world there can be
if we share, if we care, you and me.

Some have dreamed, some have died to make a bright tomorrow,
and our vision remains in our hearts.
Now the torch must be passed with new hope, not in sorrow,
and a promise to make a new start.


I guess Freud was right. Sometimes a song is just a song.

(And sometimes a sunrise behind a tree is just a picture to use because no other images come to mind.)