Rabban Gamliel

from by Rory Michelle

/
  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

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

    Includes unlimited streaming of The God Album via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 5 days

      $15 USD or more 

     

  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

      $1 USD  or more

     

about

I feel very blessed to have learned with such passionate teachers. One of my teachers related this Talmudic tale and its lessons on leadership within our communities so vividly that this song followed me around Jerusalem until I wrote it down.

Special thanks to: Levi Cooper and our Midrash class; Laura Marder; Yaffa Epstein
Text: Babylonian Talmud Tractate Brachot 27b-28a; Mishnah Tractate Rosh Hashana 2:8-9

lyrics

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)

credits

from The God Album, released December 17, 2015
Narrator, chorus – Rory Michelle
Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya’s wife, chorus, acoustic guitar – Olivia Brownlee
Chorus – Jay Psaros
Rabban Gamliel – Joe Cimino
Rabbi Yehoshua, chorus – Matt Ford
Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya, students, chorus – Max Haskell

tags

license

all rights reserved

about

Rory Michelle New York

Singer-songwriter, recording artist, producer.

contact / help

Contact Rory Michelle

Streaming and
Download help

Shipping and returns

Redeem code