Friday, September 21, 2007

A New Path

Verse 1:

The only thing I remember is that I found myself going down the steps of some alley in Tsfat.
A person invited me to stay at his house and I never thought that already the next day
I'd be hunched over a shtender learning gemara with Yehoshua trying to understand the pshat.
I open the door and in front of me stands the Rosh Yeshiva, what grace, what a glance

"I've always had a lot of love inside of me" I say

"but our generation could use a little reverence."
Instead of going to India I came here – I'm looking for refuge from my ego.
Here too you can walk around in a sharwal*1 and see how time passes so slowly.

Chorus:

I didn't know what is pulling me and where it all leads
I felt light, that something good is beginning, something out of the ordinary
Like a caterpillar getting its wings how can I explain the feeling?
Maybe this is what Rabbi Nachman meant when he said:

"When I walk down a new path that no man has ever walked down before
Even though it is an ancient path, it is completely new."

Verse 2:

Chavruta before netz, go to mikvah at Sanz after having coffee
Daven netz at Abuhav*2 a guy with a turban hands out cookies and tea
And from there between the alleys and the fog to the yeshiva, these are the paths of Nehardea*3
And oh how we sang 40 times "lernen Torah iz beser den Olam Haba
Olam Haba iz a gutter zach, lernen Torah iz der best zach…"

To learn Torah takes self-sacrifice, you have to make it penetrate into your heart
"Torah's like a woman," the Rabbi said "if you leave her for one day, she'll be offended for two."
This is the gym of the Jewish mind, we scream it at the top of our lungs
I suddenly remember university – once I forgot to whisper, what a glare I got from the librarians…

Chorus:

I didn't know what is pulling me and where it all leads
I felt light, that something good is beginning, something out of the ordinary
Like a caterpillar getting its wings how can I explain the feeling?
Maybe this is what Rabbi Nachman meant when he said:

"When I walk down a new path that no man has ever walked down before
Even though it is an ancient path, it is completely new."

Verse 3

In the afternoon they take me to an old house, Eliyahu is on the sofa
Holding a flute in his hand, he's not playing, playing music for him is like prophecy
No coercion, no decision, the key word here in Tsfat, please be acquainted with the word "flow."
But when it comes he throws you straight into the Chamber of Melody.

All of me is enchanted after years of courses and cafeterias
The culture of "another degree and another achievement" it made me almost hysterical
Eliyahu grabbed me in the yard just as he was tying his donkey to the entrance
"put aside everything you learned over there" he said "discover the wellspring that's within."

And what did I learn there? Always try to be happy
"from where will my help come?"*4 this is not a question, to be "nothing/from where"*5 is not a simple task*6
"There is no despair" yelled our Rabbi and I too into the canyon
And my own voice answered me and I understood to what extent I am not alone…

Translation notes:

*1 = yoga pants (in hebrew)
*2 = an ancient mystical (and beautiful) synagogue in Tsfat.
*3 = a reference to one of the 3 major yeshivot in Babylon. I also think the name means "the river of knowledge."
*4 = verse from Psalms
*5 = pun on the word "ayin" which can mean 2 things (when spelled with an alef) either 1. where or 2. nothingness.
*6 = this is the Baal Shem Tov's exegetic interpretation of this verse of Psalms.

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