Lyrics and Liner Notes

Kosher Symbol Blues

Click on the song titles to see lyrics and liner notes,

or View/Download the PDF for the whole album.

(in order of appearance on CD)

1.   By the Shechinah’s Holy Light

2.   This Land is Our Land

3.   Kosher Symbol Blues

4.   Heavenly Tears

5.   Return Again

6.   All G-d Really Wants

7.   Aishes Chayil

8.   Miracles

9.   The Bible

10. My Own Special Way

11. It Wasn’t Like This in Yeshiva

12. Annual Banquet Blues

 

BY THE SHECHINAH’S HOLY LIGHT

copyright mendel singer, 2011

 

Inspiration

When I was in yeshiva in Jerusalem, this happened to another bochur (student). I didn’t write the song until many years later. I had to fill in details, and continue the story, but this is, as they say, “based on a true story”. Or perhaps, based on a faulty memory. But, this is essentially how I remember the story.

 

There’s a glossary of terms below for the non-English words.

1.  WALKIN’ IN JERUSALEM A BOY CAME UP TO ME

HIS CLOTHES WERE TORN AND TATTERED LIKE THE SHOES UPON HIS FEET

I OFFERED HIM SOME MONEY, HE SAID THAT’S NOT WHAT HE NEEDS

HE’S LOOKIN’ FOR 5 SHABBOS GUESTS TO GREET THE SHABBOS QUEEN

 

2.  THAT NIGHT IN A SMALL APARTMENT THERE WERE 5 GUESTS AND 9 KIDS

SHABBOS PERMEATED EVERYTHING THEY SAID AND DID

THEY FILLED THE ROOM WITH SIMCHA AND THEY LOCKED THE WORLD OUTSIDE

AND WHEN THEY STARTED DANCING I SAW ANGELS WELL WITH PRIDE

 

C H O R U S: A BITE OF BREAD AND A BOWL OF SOUP WAS ALL THEY HAD TO EAT

BUT THEY HAD TORAH, LOVE AND LAUGHTER, SHABBOS SONGS SO SWEET

THE MEAL IT DID NOT LAST TOO LONG, BUT WE WERE UP ALL NIGHT

BASKING IN THE SPLENDOR BY THE SHECHINAH’S HOLY LIGHT

 

3.  TO SEE THEIR JOYOUS FACES YOU WOULD NOT KNOW THEY WERE POOR

SOME ARE BORN TO MONEY, THEY HAVE SO MUCH MORE

THE PARENTS SHARED THEIR SECRET, TO BE HAPPY WITH YOUR LOT

THANK G-D FOR EVERYTHING DON’T THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU HAVE NOT

 

C H O R U S

 

4.  SOME YEARS HAVE PASSED AND I’VE BEEN BLESSED WITH MY OWN FAMILY

WE ALWAYS TRY TO HAVE SOME GUESTS TO GREET THE SHABBOS QUEEN

WHEN MY MIND TURNS TO MONEY AND THE BILLS THAT I CAN’T PAY

I THINK ABOUT THAT SHABBOS WHEN LIFE’S TROUBLES FLEW AWAY

 

C H O R U S

Glossary:

Shabbos = Sabbath

 

Simcha = Joy

 

Shechina = Divine presence


THIS LAND IS OUR LAND

copyright mendel singer, 2011

 

Inspiration

I have always loved the Woody Guthrie song about America, “This Land is Your Land”, so I do what musicians do when we love a song….we steal it. OK, I just completely rewrote the lyrics to tell of our beloved Israel in a way I could really relate. As for the music, Woody Guthrie didn’t write music, just lyrics. His tunes came from old songs in the public domain, so I was free to borrow that.

 

There’s a glossary of terms below for the non-English words.

 

 

C  H  O  R  U  S THIS LAND IS OUR LAND, IT IS NOT THEIR LAND

G-D GAVE IT TO US, TO OUR FATHER ABRAHAM

THROUGH ISAAC AND JACOB

AND ON FOR ALL ETERNITY

THIS LAND G-D GAVE TO YOU AND ME

 

  1. FROM THE JORDAN VALLEY, TO THE GOLAN HEIGHTS

THE SUMMER BREEZE OF JERUSALEM NIGHTS

FROM THE SINAI DESERT TO THE SPARKLING GALILEE

THIS LAND G-D GAVE TO YOU AND ME

C  H  O  R  U  S

 

  1. FROM THE ROSH YESHIVOS TO THE KIBBUTZNIKS

FROM EGGED DRIVERS TO EX-REFUSENIKS

FOR ALL THE JEWS AROUND THE WORLD

TRAPPED IN THEIR LIFE OF LUXURY

THIS LAND G-D GAVE TO YOU AND ME

C  H  O  R  U  S

  1. AS I WAS WALKING BY THE WESTERN WALL

I’M SURE I HEARD, SOME ANGELS CALL

THEY SAID SO MANY DIED, SO ALL THE WORLD WOULD SEE

THIS LAND G-D GAVE TO YOU AND ME

C  H  O  R  U  S

 

 

Glossary:

 

Rosh Yeshivos = Rabbis who run centers of Torah study

Kibbutzniks =  People who live on a kibbutz, traditionally an agricultural cooperative


KOSHER SYMBOLS BLUES

copyright mendel singer, 2010

Inspiration

I thought kosher symbols were supposed to make things less confusing?

 

Many years ago a great idea was conceived. Put a symbol on the label of products that are kosher, and kosher consumers will know what they can and cannot buy. With the proliferation of symbols, this has become a bit of a nightmare! There are so many symbols. Some are very interesting (I like the horse and buggy K from Amish country). Some are very similar to others. Very confusing. Many years ago, things were less standard in regards to denoting things like pareve(no meat or dairy ingredients) or kosher for Passover. I know a lot of people have stared at a giant stack of American cheese slices, seen it marked OU-P and wondered “Pareve? How can that be?”  I like to think that funny mistakes can at least be turned into a good story or song, or in this case, both.

 

There’s a glossary of terms below for the non-English words.

1.         I GOT SO EXCITED, I FOUND PAREVE CHEESE

IT WAS CREAMY AND IT MELTED, IT WAS MARKED O-U P

MADE THE BEST CHEESEBURGER, GAVE MY RABBI A TRY

WHEN I PROUDLY SHOWED THE WRAPPER, HE STARTED TO CRY

HE SAID THE “P” IS NOT FOR PAREVE, IT’S PASSOVER FOOD

WE GOT THE KOSHER SYMBOL BLUES

 

CHORUS I GOT THE KOSHER SYMBOL BLUES

THREE MILLION SYMBOLS, MOST I CAN’T USE

THERE’S A “K” WITH A SQUIGGLY, A “K” WITH A DOT

USE THE WRONG ONE AND YOU TREIF YOUR POT

GOIN’ TO THE GROCER, GIVES ME A SCARE

NOW I DREAM OF KOSHER SYMBOLS, AND IT’S A NIGHTMARE

IT ALL SEEMED SO SIMPLE, SO EASY TO DO

I GOT THE KOSHER SYMBOL BLUES

 

  1. 2. I BOUGHT A TREAT FOR PESACH, IT WAS MARKED K-P

TASTED JUST LIKE CHOMETZ, IT WAS SO YUMMY

MY RABBI SAID IT’S PAREVE, IT’S NOT PASSOVER FOOD

A “P” BY A  K’S NOT ALWAYS LIKE BY O-U

FLUSH AWAY YOUR CHOMETZ, THAT’S WHAT YOU GOTTA DO

NOW MY TOILET’S BACKED UP, AND IT’S FLOODED THREE ROOMS

MY HOUSE IS LIKE A MIKVEH, AND MY POTS ARE TREIF ,TOO

I GOT THE KOSHER SYMBOL BLUES

CHORUS

Glossary:

treif = not kosher

mikveh = ritual bath

Pesach = Passover

pareve = not meat or dairy

chometz = leavened food (forbidden on Passover)

yummy = delicious!

 

 

HEAVENLY TEARS

copyright mendel singer, 2010

 

Inspiration

Heavenly Tears – I know I’ve caused too many.

1.        HELLO, YES I KNOW, IT’S BEEN A LONG, LONG TIME

WOULDN’T BLAME YOU IF YOU’RE MAD AT ME,

BUT I’VE HAD SO MUCH ON MY MIND

SOMETIMES I FEEL PARALYZED, AND DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO

I’M SORRY IT’S ONLY TIMES LIKE THESE, I TURN TO YOU

 

2.         HAVE I TOLD YOU LATELY, HOW MUCH YOU MEAN TO ME

YOU PUT THE BREATH OF LIFE, INSIDE OF ME

WHY DO I PUSH YOU AWAY, AS IF YOU DIDN’T CARE

YET WHEN I NEED YOU THE MOST, YOU’RE ALWAYS THERE

 

3.         YES I KNOW, I’D FEEL BETTER, IF I LET YOU SHARE MY LOAD

BUT I JUST CAN’T ADMIT, LIFE’S NOT ALL IN MY CONTROL

I KEEP ON REFUSING YOUR LOVE, WASTING THE YEARS

SOMETIMES I SEE THE FOOL I’VE BEEN, SHED BITTER TEARS

 

4.         YES I KNOW, YOU’D BE WILLING, TO GUIDE MY EVERY DAY

YOU’D REVEAL ALL LIFE’S BEAUTY, BUT I’M BLOCKING MY OWN WAY

I’M NOT ONLY HURTING MYSELF, I CAN PLAINLY HEAR

THE UNEARTHLY SOUL SHATTERING SOUND OF HEAVENLY TEARS

YES I KNOW THAT I’VE CAUSED YOU TO BREAK DOWN, IN HEAVENLY TEARS


RETURN AGAIN

copyright Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

 

 

Inspiration

A great Carlebach song. Simple, concise, powerful, very emotional. The music fits perfectly with the words. This song just resonates with a lot of people, including me. Not the kind of song I would/could write, so I’m thankful he did.

 

 

  1. RETURN AGAIN, RETURN AGAIN

RETURN TO THE LAND OF YOUR SOUL

 

(Repeat)

 

 

  1. RETURN TO WHO YOU ARE,

RETURN TO WHAT YOU ARE

RETURN TO WHERE YOU WERE BORN AND REBORN AGAIN

 

(Repeat)

 


ALL G-D REALLY WANTS

copyright mendel singer, 2011

 

Inspiration

With all of the “rules”, it is easy to get bogged down and lose sight of the real goal. This song is my attempt to simplify things.

 

There’s a glossary of terms below for the non-English words.

 

1.         SOMETIMES IT’S HARD TO BE A JEW,

SO MANY MITZVOS WE MUST DO

G-D DESERVES OUR ENDLESS PRAISE

BUT CAN’T JEWS TAKE VACATION DAYS

 

2.         GOT MY RABBI ON THE PHONE

WHY CAN’T G-D JUST LEAVE ME ALONE

HE WANTS SO VERY MUCH FROM ME

HE SAID, “G-D ONLY WANTS ONE THING”

 

C H O R U S ALL G-D REALLY WANTS IS YOU, NOTHING LESS COULD EVER DO

YOU CAN’T JUST THINK ABOUT HIM WHEN YOU PRAY

YOU GOTTA THINK ABOUT HIM ALL THE DAY

TORAH’S NOT JUST WHAT YOU LEARN, IT ISN’T JUST SOME THINGS YOU DO

IT’S THE VERY LIFE YOU LIVE

ALL G-D REALLY WANTS IS YOU

 

3.         SO IF YOU WANT TO FEEL FULFILLED

TOSS OUT YOUR OWN AND DO G-D’S WILL

HE MADE US ALL AND KNOWS WHAT’S BEST

HE GAVE US ANSWERS TO HIS TESTS

 

4.         G-D MARRIED US ON MOUNT SINAI

COMMITMENT MEANS OUR VERY LIVES

MITZVOS ARE THE TIES THAT BIND

JOIN US TO G-D IN HEART AND MIND

 

C H O R U S

 

Glossary:

 

mitzvos = commandments
AISHES CHAYIL

copyright mendel singer, 2011

Inspiration

I wrote this song for my wife on our anniversary. Secular music is filled with music about partners, but Jewish music has little. Even the classic “song” from Proverbs, “Aishes Chayil” (woman of valor), was originally written by King Solomon for his mother, not his wife. There is a tradition that the song was originally written by Abraham as a eulogy for his wife Sarah. It has long been traditional for a Jewish husband to sing it in honor of his wife every Friday night at the Shabbos table.

 

There’s a glossary of terms below for the non-English words.

1. WHO’S WORTH MORE THAN PEARLS OR RUBIES

WHO HAS EYES THAT CAN SEE RIGHT THROUGH ME

WHEN I’M DOWN,   FEELING HOPELESS

SHE GIVES ME STRENGTH TO GO ON

 

 

C H O R U S AISHES CHAYIL MI YIMTZA

V’RACHOK MI’PNINIM MIKRA

BOTACH BAW LEV BAALOH

V’SHOLLOL LO YECHSOR  (last time: repeat)

 

2.         WHO BRINGS BLESSING TO OUR HOME

WHO MAKES TORAH OUR HOUSE’S CORNER STONE

GIVES HER LIFE,  GIVES HER LOVE

FOR ONLY KIND WORDS IN RETURN

C H O R U S   T W I C E

 

 

Translation of Chorus, from Mishlei, Proverbs xx:  :

A woman of valor, who can find?

She is worth far more than pearls.

Her husband trusts in her,

He will lack no fortune.

 

 

MIRACLES

copyright, mendel singer 2010

Inspiration

Miracles – written during Chanukah while driving to work over 2 mornings. I wasn’t playing guitar at the same time.  J   The song was inspired by Rabbi Simcha Zeesel’s explanation of why Chanukah is celebrated for 8 days, when there was enough oil to burn naturally for 1 day. Thus, only 7 days of burning were miraculous. Rabbi Simcha Zeesel explains that it is no harder for G-d to make vinegar burn than oil. It is only because we have grown used to what happens all the time, and call it Nature.  Really, everything is miraculous and it is our challenge to see the miraculous every day, in the mundane as well as the sublime.

 

  1. THERE ARE EIGHT CANDLES BURNING BY THE WINDOW

LOTS OF LITTLE FACES LOOKING ON

THE PARENTS THEY ARE GRATEFUL

FOR THE LITTLE THINGS THAT MAKE A HOUSE A HOME

 

 

C H O R U S MIRACLES ARE EVERYWHERE, EVERYWHERE AND EVERYDAY

SOMETIMES THEY ANNOUNCE THEMSELVES,

SOMETIMES THEY CAN HIDE

YOU CAN OFTEN SEE THEM IF YOU TRY

LOOK AT EVERYTHING YOU HAVE

SOON I’M SURE YOU’LL SAY

MIRACLES ARE EVERYWHERE, AND EVERYDAY

 

 

  1. THE SUN COMES UP EACH AND EVERY MORNING

THE WINTER ALWAYS TURNS INTO THE SPRING

WHEN YOU REALLY THINK ABOUT IT

THERE ARE MIRACLES IN EVERYTHING

 

 

C H O R U S
THE BIBLE

copyright mendel singer, 2010

 

 

Inspiration

I met a cousin who showed me a chumash (bible) from the 1860’s that belonged to our mutual great-great-grandfather. On the inside cover were births, names and wedding dates for several generations. I’ll never forget how it felt to hold that chumash.

 

 

1. AFTER SEVEN LONG DAYS, THE TEARS HAVE ALL RUN DRY

HE GETS UP FROM HIS STOOL, AND HEAVES A HEARTFELT SIGH

SEARCHING FOR A MEMORY, A SYMBOL OF DAD’S LIFE

IN A BAG, HE FINDS THE BIBLE DAD WAS CLUTCHING WHEN HE DIED

WITH A TREMBLING HAND HE OPENED IT, AND FOUND THESE WORDS INSIDE….

 

 

CHORUS: LET ME THANK G-D FOR THE BLESSINGS            HE SHOWERS UPON ME

HE WROTE BIRTHDAYS, NAMES AND WEDDING DATES

FOR ALL THE FAMILY TREE

WITH A SHAKY HAND HE’D WRITTEN  DATED JUST ONE WEEK BEFORE

G-D GAVE ME LOVE AND BROUGHT ME CLOSE,

WHO COULD ASK FOR MORE

  1. 2. THE TEARS BEGAN TO FLOW AGAIN, THEY WERE NOT FOR HIS DAD

HE CRIED FOR ALL THE TIMES HE CRIED,  FOR THINGS HE DIDN’T HAVE

AND HE VOWED TO VALUE EVERYTHING HIS DAD HAD TAUGHT HIM TO

AND IN THIS WAY HIS DAD LIVES ON, IN WAYS HE NEVER KNEW

HE GAVE HIS SON HIS FATHER’S NAME, IT’S IN THAT BIBLE TOO

 

 

CHORUS: NOW HE THANKS G-D FOR THE BLESSINGS, THEY’RE ALL SO PLAIN TO SEE

HE WRITES BIRTHDAYS, NAMES AND WEDDING DATES

FOR ALL THE FAMILY TREE

IN HIS HEART HE ECHOES WORDS HIS DAD WROTE MANY YEARS BEFORE

G-D GAVE ME LOVE AND BROUGHT ME CLOSE

WHO COULD ASK FOR MORE

G-D GIVES ME LOVE AND BRINGS ME CLOSE

WHO COULD ASK FOR MORE

 


MY OWN SPECIAL WAY

copyright mendel singer, 2010

Inspiration

 

Ever want to give a special gift to someone who literally has everything? It must be uniquely yours to give.

But what?

 

There’s a glossary of terms below for the non-English words.

 

 

  1. OPEN MY MOUTH, MAKE THE WORDS COME OUT

LEAD ME TO YOUR BLESSINGS AND YOUR PRAISE

TOO OFTEN I FAIL TO SEE, ALL THE GOOD YOU HAVE DONE FOR ME

I’D LIKE TO THANK YOU, IN MY OWN SPECIAL WAY

 

  1. TEFILLAH IS MADE JUST RIGHT, TO SET ONE’S PRAYERS IN FLIGHT

SOARING UP TO HEAVEN EVERY DAY

BUT STILL MY HEART FEELS TRAPPED, IT CRIES FOR ITS OWN PATH

I’D LIKE TO THANK YOU, IN MY OWN SPECIAL WAY

 

  1. 3. KING DOVID WROTE THE WORDS OF A HEART THAT LONGS

KING SHLOMO WRITE THE WORLD’S MOST SOULFUL SONGS

IF EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT THERE MUST BE

A WAY TO SERVE HASHEM MADE JUST FOR ME

 

  1. OPEN MY MOUTH, MAKE THE WORDS COME OUT

HELP ME FIND THE WORDS I LONG TO SAY

YOU’VE BEEN BLESSING ME EVERY DAY, SO EVEN THOUGH I PRAY

I’D LIKE TO THANK YOU, IN MY OWN SPECIAL WAY

 

 

REPEAT VERSES 3 – 4

 

Glossary:

tefillah = prayer

King Dovid = King David

King Shlomo = King Solomon


IT WASN’T LIKE THIS IN YESHIVA

copyright mendel singer, 2011

Inspiration

 

Sometimes we face decisions in life where there just doesn’t seem to be an obviously right choice, and the options are all unpleasant. We often see charitable organizations “honoring” someone who appears to be less than virtuous, or not living the philosophy espoused by the organization – but they made a large donation. It seems so hypocritical and demeaning. Occasionally you hear the more inspiring story of a large gift that was turned down by an organization because of who the donor was. But what if turning it down means some families won’t have food on their table, or won’t make their mortgage payment?

 

There’s a glossary of terms below for the non-English words.

1.         BORUCH RAISES MONEY FOR A CHEDER SCHOOL, THE FINEST KIDS YOU’VE EVER SEEN

HEARS ABOUT A RICH MAN, LIVES HIS LIFE IN SIN, WANTS TO CLEANSE HIS SOUL WITH GREEN

BORUCH DOESN’T WANT TO GO THERE, BUT THE TEACHERS WERE NOT PAID

SO HE HEADS OFF IN THE EVENING AIR, SHEDS A TEAR ALONG THE WAY

 

 

CHORUS IT WASN’T LIKE THIS IN YESHIVA, LEARNING TORAH DAY AND NIGHT

THE TORAH AS OUR GUIDING LIGHT

EVERYTHING WAS BLACK AND WHITE

YOU ALWAYS KNEW WHAT’S WRONG FROM RIGHT

 

 

2.         LEIBEL LIVED HIS LIFE FOR TORAH EVERY DAY, FOR NEARLY NINETY YEARS

NOW HIS BODY’S RAVAGED BY DISEASE, EACH WAKING MOMENT’S FILLED WITH TEARS

EVERY BREATH OF LIFE IS PRICELESS, BUT THE COST IS GETTING’ STEEP

THROUGH PAIN UNBEARABLE HE CARRIES ON, WHILE PRAYING FOR ETERNAL SLEEP

 

 

C  H  O  R  U  S

 

TAG: SOMETIMES THE CHOICES THAT WE’RE FACED WITH SEEM UNFAIR

NO MATTER WHAT YOU CHOOSE, FEELS LIKE YOU LOSE

C  H  O  R  U  S

Glossary:

Cheder = Ultra-Orthodox Jewish elementary school

 

Yeshiva = Post-High school center of religious study

 

ANNUAL BANQUET BLUES

copyright mendel singer 2011

 

 

Inspiration

 

I probably shouldn’t say what the inspiration was for this song. J

Actually, I have been fortunate. Most of the banquets I have attended have been well managed, and often inspirational. This song is for the rest.

 

Intro:    THE ROOM WAS OVERFLOWING, THE FACES ALL LOOKED GRIM

THE ANNUAL BANQUET WAS ABOUT TO BEGIN

 

  1. THE EMCEE MADE SURE TO TELL ALL HIS FAVORITE JOKES

THE ONES HIS WIFE NEVER LIKED, THE ONES HE TREASURED MOST

THE EVENING MOVED WITH ALL THE SPEED OF A MUTILATED SLUG

ELEVEN SPEECHES LATER, EYES WERE CLOSED AND EARS WERE NUMB

 

C  H  O  R  U  S GOT THEM ANNUAL BANQUET BLUES

A NOTE FROM YOUR MOTHER CAN’T GET YOU EXCUSED

FROM THE ANNUAL BANQUET BLUES

FLIP A COIN WITH YOUR WIFE

HEADS SHE GOES AND TAILS YOU LOSE

 

  1. THE HONOREE WAS BEAMING, STANDING WITH HIS FAMILY

AN AWARD NOBODY WITH NO MONEY EVER WILL RECEIVE

THEY PROCLAIMED THAT THINGS WERE GREAT, AND THE BEST IS YET TO COME

THEY ANNOUNCED THE BEGINNING OF A BRAND NEW BUILDING FUND

 

C  H  O  R  U  S