Text: Psalm 104, verses 33-34
Ashirah lashem b’chayai.
I will sing to the Eternal with my life.
Azamra lelokai b’odi.
I will offer hymns to my G-d as long as I exist.
Ye’erav ’alav sichi.
May they be sweet to Him/Her, my verses.
Anochi esmach bashem.
I will rejoice in the Eternal.
Pronunciation guide: Vowels as in Italian. Ch as in Bach. Apostrophe after a consonant is short vocalization as in “uh.” Apostrophe before a vowel is a glottal stop.
Ashirah LaShem, (I will sing to the Eternal) was inspired by a rafting trip in Idaho where I felt the trees, rivulets, hills– all of Creation– exulting and singing to the Creator, the Eternal One. It was as if the natural world itself were reverberating with the text of Psalm 104.
Upon my return from the river, I received a commission from Mak’hela (the Jewish Chorus of Western Massachusetts) and Cantor Emily Sleeper Mekler of Sinai Temple in Springfield, MA, to compose a new work. The delight and exuberance of these verses from Psalm 104 seemed the perfect match for the ensemble’s joyful approach to singing. May all rejoice in praise.
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