Leonard Cohen’s take on a central Yom Kippur prayer (with thanks to Lilly Rivlin):
Here’s the actual prayer:
On Rosh Hashanah it is written,
And on Yom Kippur it is sealed.
How many shall pass away and how many shall be born,
Who shall live and who shall die,
Who shall reach the end of his days and who shall not,
Who shall perish by water and who by fire,
Who by sword and who by wild beast,
Who by famine and who by thirst,
Who by earthquake and who by plague,
Who by strangulation and who by stoning,
Who shall have rest and who shall wander,
Who shall be at peace and who shall be pursued,
Who shall be at rest and who shall be tormented,
Who shall be exalted and who shall be brought low,
Who shall become rich and who shall be impoverished.
There’s a final line saying that “repentance, prayer and good deeds shall mitigate the severity of the decree.” I prefer Cohen’s last line: “Who shall I say is calling?”
[Admin note — a bloggish bit of repentance: Apologies to those of you who have seen ads on this site. I’ve just purchased the “no-ads upgrade.” If you still see ads, please let me know. — LH]
Hello Lesley – thank you for this, we are going to hear Leonard Cohen in Auckland (NZ!) in December, wonderful.
Didn’t know that this song is actually a prayer for Yom Kippur, interesting, especially today in Yom Kippur 🙂
Beautiful prayer. Is it from Torah or teachings of prophet Moses PBUH?
Rabbinical — earliest known is 8th century AD, in Cairo, which makes it all the better that Cohen used an oud.