Monday, June 06, 2011

A Poem for Shavuos / Shavuot / שבעות

Okay, I lied:  it’s not a poem for Shavuot.  I’m Ashkenaz and proud, and for once, if you want to read the poem, you’re going to have to read it MY way.

Shavuos - here’s how you say it:

  • Sha, like you’re shushing a baby;
  • Voo, like the French word for youse;
  • Iss.  Who doesn’t like a holiday that rhymes with KISS???

Now that you can say it, there’s a free printable PDF version of the poem here.

Also, it’s a bit late for this year, but be sure to check out my Shavuos learning for kids (not just for homeschoolers!) resources roundup page here!


image The Tzaddik:  A Poem for Shavuos
 
Hundreds of years ago, far far away,
A tzaddik is dying; the end nears today.
He drifts in his dreams as he turns in his bed,
His worries for Yiddishkeit swirl round his head.
 
“If only,” Rebbe Alter murmurs out loud,
“If only I knew, if a glimpse were allowed,
A glimpse of the future, to see how they fare,
Carrying Torah to the new world out there.”
 
And just at that moment, a spectre alights:
“Dear Rebbe Alter, you’ve earned those sights.
I’ll show you a glimpse of the world yet to be,
The world of tomorrow you’ll merit to see.”
 
And off the two fly ‘round the world, far away,
Passing through time to the world of today.
To a shul they arrive and he sees the men daven,
At home, Erev Shabbos, a warm fragrant oven.
 
“Ah,” he exclaims, “it is true, every word,
Forever and ever our tefillos are heard.”
“Now come,” says the spectre, “there’s more yet indeed,”
And off the two whirl, round the world with great speed.
 
They fly far away, to another vast land,
A young boy with a candle in his steady hand.
And then, from his distance, Rebbe Alter is shown
A Chanukah such as he’d never known.
 
A table rich with presents, near lights softly glowing,
Sizzling smells warm the night, though it’s snowing;
Families gather, spread festive delight,
Cheer in the streets, songs greeting each night.
 
“Ah,” he exclaims, “if this is the way,
Chanukah’s celebrated here in this day;
Please let me remain; I just cannot miss –
Seeing how they must embrace Shavuos.”
 
image But wisely the spectre puts an end to his roam,
“Your travels are over,” he whispers, “safe home.”
And yet, I can hear his voice, whispering still –
“Chanukah, yes, but won’t you… you will?
 
גוט יום טוב

3 comments:

  1. Ok, I'm confused! I know that the Ashkenaz pronounce the s at the end but why is it iss instead of os?

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  2. Ashkenazim do things with vowels, too, that are a bit more subtle than just the "t/s" shift, like the way an A sometimes becomes an O, like in "Boruch atoh".
    Most Ashkenazim I know are careful to pronounce the name of Hashem "Adonoi," for example - not the modern Hebrew "Adonai." You may have heard this if you're hanging around Chabad-niks. :-)
    Look in an NCSY bencher if you have one for a guide to Ashkenaz pronunciation - if you don't have one, it's a good thing to get anyway, and they're very cheap.
    Our rabbi actually pronounces the name of the holiday Shvoo-ISS - only 2 syllables; I actually suspect this is more "Ashkenaziss."

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  3. Ah... that explains some of it :-) (and I do probably hear more Chabad-nik pronunciations)

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