The God Album

by Rory Michelle

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    Jewel-case CD with lyrics and liner notes booklet - artwork and photography by Laura Togut.

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about

My favorite movie has long been Yentl. In the film, Barbra Streisand’s character grows up studying sacred texts with her rabbinic scholar father. When he dies, she disguises herself as a boy in order to enter the yeshiva. I did not grow up with an extensive knowledge of either Torah or Talmud, but like Yentl, I have always yearned for an “in” to what I sensed was a source of spiritual growth and wisdom that seemed so close and yet so far.

I wrote these songs while studying Torah and Talmud at Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, Israel. Learning in a co-ed, intellectually open, modern Beit Midrash (house of learning) at Pardes is something I am hugely grateful to have gotten the chance to do. It was truly that “in” to a whole world of richness, cultural heritage, excitement, struggle, and fun for me.

I hope that these songs – inspired, informed, and infused with Jewish text – will serve to help you find your “in”. May we always keep learning, growing, and connecting – and having fun while doing it.

L’shalom,
Rory Michelle

credits

released December 17, 2015

Lyrics and music by Rory Michelle Sullivan (c) 2015 (ASCAP)
Co-produced by Rory Michelle Sullivan, Olivia Brownlee, and Jay Psaros of PB&J records
Recorded, engineered, mixed and mastered at Mojo Studios, Franconia, NH by Anthony Cimino

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Rory Michelle New York

Singer-songwriter, recording artist, producer.

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Track Name: Tagid Li (Tell Me)
Tagid li [Tell me]
Why are there angels?
And what are they singing to me?
Praise You. Tifartecha. Hallelujah!

Chorus: Praise You. Tifartecha. Hallelujah!
Praise You. Tifartecha. Hallelujah!

Gali li [Show me]
How I can receive them
And what they’re singing to me.
Praise You. Tifartecha. Hallelujah!

Chorus: Praise You. Tifartecha. Hallelujah!
Praise You. Tifartecha. Hallelujah!

Adonai [Lord/God]
Why are there voices
If not to sing to You?
Praise You. Tifartecha. Hallelujah!

Chorus: Praise You. Tifartecha. Hallelujah!
Praise You. Tifartecha. Hallelujah!

Adonai (Lord/God)
You gave us voices.
So we will sing to You.
Praise You. Tifartecha. Hallelujah!

Chorus: Praise You. Tifartecha. Hallelujah!
Praise You. Tifartecha. Hallelujah!
Track Name: Song To You
Oh, God, I’m tired of this rain
Tired of the rain not comin’

Jerusalem sits and waits for You
We’re sitting in a winter song

And while we’re waiting…

We’ll sing a song to You, song to You, song to You, song to You
Song to You, song to You, song to You, song to You

Let the rain fall down, let the rain fall down
Insert Hebrew here
Or anytime of year
When we don’t have the words to praise you, O Lord

Let our actions and our lips, and our songs and our hips
as we dance and sway

While we are praying, while we are swaying, oh, hear what we’re saying
With our song to You, song to You, song to You, song to You
Song to You, song to You, song to You, song to You

Our lost brothers and our sisters
Join us in our dance
Oh, our brothers and our sisters
We can all take the chance
To be caught singing a song together
To be caught singing all to You together
To be caught singing and praising and loving and laughing
Singing a song to You

Song to You, song to You, song to You, song to You
Song to You, song to You, song to You, song to You

Rain or no rain
Pain or no pain
Track Name: Let Yourself Be Found
Oh, God, I’m crying for You
Oh, God, let Yourself be found
Oh, God, we’re crying for You
Oh, God, let Yourself be found

Repeat with: praying, singing, dancing, marching, fighting

Oh, My people, I’m fighting for you
Yisrael, let yourself be found
Oh, My people, I’m fighting for you
Oh My holy people, let yourself be found

Oh, God, I’m whispering for You
Oh, God, let Yourself be found
Oh, God, I’m whispering for You
Oh, God, let Yourself be found

Repeat with: crying

Oh, My people, I’m crying for you
Yisrael, let yourself be found
Oh, My people, I’m crying for you
Oh My holy people, let yourself be found
Track Name: Spring Cleaning
It’s Passover – Pesach! Break out the Passover-only dishes and get your brooms and dust pans ready because it’s – spring cleaning!

Unnnhh...

Give me a giant, jumbo, huge cyclone
To mix up every knife and fork I own
So I have to rekasher everything
Bsari and halavi, fleischig, milkhic – Pesadich! - I choose thee
Over this whole Pesach cleaning thing

CHORUS:
Spring cleaning, another name for Pesach
Spring cleaning is Passover in our dictionary!
Spring cleaning, another name for Pesach
Spring cleaning – ugh! Is this really necessary?

Give me nat bar nat in every pot
I won’t moan over a kli rishon
I’d rather deal with shishim than have to clean
Chametz has such strong ta’am? C’mon!
With all this soap, it’s all pagum!
When did we become so frum?

CHORUS

Give me ayno ben yomo --
Ugh! On Pesach, it doesn’t exist, though!
There’s no bittl, so I have no reprieve.
Comes Pesach – Chametz!
Suddenly, the house is all treif!
Add in this CLEANING and there is no relief.

CHORUS
…I wish this spring cleaning for Pesach wasn’t necessary

BRIDGE:
Wait – you mean we only have to clean the kitchen?
Why all this balagan in addition?
Bedroom, the bathroom, den – oy vey!
Then I’ll save those for another holiday!
It’s gonna take me ‘till Shavuot anyway.

‘Cause Pesach cleaning is fictitious
We are just so superstitious
Where does it say to clean your windows in any source?
People, here’s the truth; it may hurt:
We’re searching here for bread, not dirt!
Though I suppose you could do more, of course!
But here is what I want to reinforce –

ALT CHORUS:
Spring cleaning, is not a name for Pesach
Spring cleaning isn’t Passover in our dictionary!
Spring cleaning, is not a name for Pesach
No spring cleaning for Pesach – it’s revolutionary.
Track Name: Birkat Hamazon
Hazan et haolam kulo
You are the One who nurtures
In its vast expanse, the whole universe
Hazan et haolam kulo

Chorus: Hazan et haolam kulo, hazan et haolam kulo
Hazan et haolam, hazan et haolam, hazan et haolam kulo

Umfarnes lakol, umfarnes lakol
You support and maintain
Hold the space and sustain
Umfarnes lakol

Chorus

Umaitiv lakol, umaitiv lakol
You cause us to grow
Become more and more whole
Umativiv lakol

Chorus

Umaikhin mazon, umaikhin mazon
You prepare and provide
Make real dreams from inside
Umaikhin mazon

Chorus

Hazan et haolam kulo
You are the One who nurtures
In its vast expanse, the whole universe
Hazan et haolam kulo

Chorus
Track Name: God Has a Plan
God has a plan to bring us together
A miracle is something that happens which confirms
In the mind of a person or group the existence of God
The existence of God

God has a plan to pull the idols from the land
What do we idolize? To my surprise
We’ve got arrogance, hatred, guilt, and dishonesty
We’ve got issues and “fix yous” and low self-esteem

Chorus:
When you stay in the moment you trust that it all will be right
When saying these blessings you’re real and not just polite
And all will be right. All will be right.

God has a plan that we see God’s hand
In the acts of creation, moment to moment:
Unpredictable, changing uncertainty
Continuous constant stability

Chorus x2

You’re safe in this moment
Track Name: Rabban Gamliel
CHORUS: Oh Rabban Gamliel, will we survive to tell the tale? Oh, Rabban Gamliel.

Rabban Gamliel sits with students standing, Torah study is demanding!
Rabban G relays his teachings quietly
To the spokesman, word for word, who makes sure all the boys have heard
Rabban G is waiting, poised to squash his rivalry.

Suddenly, Rabban Gamliel shouts, pointing Rabbi Yehoshua out
Asks him, “Did you rule a different way?”
Rabbi Yehoshua sighs, “I can’t tell lies, not while a witness is alive –
Yeah, I did, just earlier today.”

For Rabbi Yehoshua knows that it’s worth the ego blows
To acquiesce without animosity
For even when Rabban G is wrong, his position must stay strong
The point here is not truth, but stability.

Rabbi Yehoshua is made to stand (degrading for the right-hand man:
It’s student status - public humiliation).
Meanwhile the students plot, offended by Rabbi Yehoshua’s lot
And plan to depose Rabban Gamliel from his station

CHORUS: Oh Rabban Gamliel, will we survive to tell the tale? Oh, Rabban Gamliel.

- “Who can really run the school? - “Not Rabbi Yehoshua, he was just overruled.”
- “Rabbi Akiva? “ – “Not from a proper family.”
- “How ‘bout Elazar ben Azarya?”- “Hey! He could go pretty far, yah!
He’s a wealthy scholar with a fitting family tree.”

All the students have now voted. Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya is promoted,
But not before he checks in with his wife
“They’ll just throw you out,” she says to him. But Rabbi Elazar won’t stay grim.
“Nu? Glass breaks, but we use it for its life.”

“Elazar, you little pisher! Won’t you ever get the picture?
You’re just eighteen, how can you be so bold?”
But Rabbi Elazar, miraculously, grows 18 rows of white hair immediately,
Saying, “I’m like - seventy years old.”

Elazar (with the students, being mensches) filled the hall with all new benches
Saying, “They’d rather sit. All this standing, let’s renounce ‘er.
And what’s with all this exclusivity? Let everyone in, indiscriminately!”
So he flung open the doors and kicked out the bouncer.

CHORUS: Oh Rabban Gamliel, will we survive to tell the tale? Oh, Rabban Gamliel.

Now everyone is learning Torah, people really from all over
Rabban Gamliel is nervous about their new ideas
‘Cause new ideas could be polluted, Torah from Mount Sinai is now diluted!
This is everything Rabban Gamliel fears

So he goes to find dear Yehoshua, who says, “Rabban G, what’s it to ya?
Would it kill you to ask me about my life?
Until now, after all these years, you’ve had clearly no idea
How I made my living. You know nothing about strife.”

- “I just said I hadn’t known that you make charcoal from your home.”
- “You’re so out of touch. I can’t believe you lead this generation.”
- “Sorry,” says Gamliel, “But listen – you know we both have a mission:
Save the Torah! Forgive my insensitive communication.”

“No? Forgive me for my father’s sake!” And the Rabbis both embraced,
United in their mission once again.
Returned together to the Yeshiva, laid down the law to Elazar ben Azarya
And granted that one week per month, he could remain.

CHORUS: Oh Rabban Gamliel, will we survive to tell the tale? Oh, Rabban Gamliel.

Yes, three weeks each month Rabban Gamliel would rule and one week per month Elazar ran the school
Quite an interesting administration
But Rabban G did recognize the values that the students emphasized
And so factored them into the equation.

And now the Yeshiva’s back to traditions, but not without a few additions:
The benches stayed, the bouncer is still gone.
For the moral of our humble tale, is: Keep Torah alive, not stale,
Find the balance, like the way the school’s now run.

Take three parts continuity and one part ingenuity
And you will have a Torah that can thrive
Yes, three parts of preservation and one big heap of innovation.
That’s the way to keep Torah going – and alive.

Oh, use three parts continuity and one part ingenuity
When passing on your precious testament
Yes, three parts of preservation and one big heap of innovation.
That’s the way to keep it relevant.

CHORUS: Oh Rabban Gamliel, will we survive to tell the tale? Oh, Rabban Gamliel. (2x)
Track Name: Goodbye, Shabbat, Goodbye
Hinei el yeshuati… ekrah. [Hebrew text from traditional Havdalah prayer.]

Chorus: Oh, Goodbye, Shabbat, Goodbye
Ya-dai-dai-dai-dai-dai
Oh, Goodbye, Shabbat, Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye

As we welcome the new week
I promise you I’ll seek
To bring you into it, so you don’t have to go

‘Cause I’ve been in your warm embrace
Had your cheek against my face
But you’re leaving me again, I know

Chorus

At this table where I sit
I tell you I commit
To have a week in which I’m preparing me for you

Oh your majesty and grace
Is far from commonplace
It so completes me that it’s hard to say adieu

Chorus

But the spices and the wine
Remind me it’s just time
Until you come back anyhow

Oh, Shabbat, my love, my Queen
This extra soul I’ve seen
Is leaving me again, I feel it now

Instrumental break

But, next week you’ll come again
Until then I remain
Your willing servant, lover, and your friend

Yes, this brush of eternity
Is once a week for me
And once more it’s coming to an end

So hello to the new week
It’s hard to even speak
But we welcome you with this lullaby:

Yai-dai-dai dai-dai dai-dai
Dai-dai dai-dai dai-dai
Yai-dai-dai-dai-dai-dai Yai-dai-dai-dai-dai-i

Chorus

Tag: Goodbye, Shabbat, Goodbye