Songs for Passover & for the Earth

 Songs for Earth & Freedom, Any Day or Night

We have collected here some songs that may enrich your Seder. Some of them track the ancient story; some sing out the struggles of our own generation for freedom, eco-social justice,  peace, and healing.

And they can sing out truth for us beyond the Seder.

For in every generation, the Haggadah tells us, some new version of "pharaoh" arises to attack our dignity, our lives, our hopes  — even to bring plagues upon the Earth, as the ancient Pharaoh did.

And in every generation, the Haggadah tells us, every human being must renew the struggle to be free. Even the struggle to sing a new song.

And that struggle is not limited to the night, or the week, of Pesach.

“Circle Round for Freedom” (by Linda Hirschhorn)

(Maybe to begin the Seder)

For melody, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fL0lW3QEQrw>

Circle round for freedom,
circle round for peace.
For all of us imprisoned,
circle for release.

Circle for the planet,
circle for each soul.
For the children of our children,
keep the circle whole.

"Go Down Moses" (traditional, with additional verse by Rabbi Arthur Waskow)

[A song in th mdst of the Seder, as part of th Maggid/ Telling;

Melody: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vf6jBP4YXwo>]

When Israel was in Egypt’s land, Let My people go;
Oppressed so hard they could not stand, Let My people go;
Go down, Moses, way down in Egypt’s land,
Tell old Pharaoh: Let My people go!

The pillar of cloud shall clear the way, Let My people go;
A fire by night, a shade by day, Let My people go.
Go down, Moses, way down in Egypt’s land,
Tell old Pharaoh: Let My people go!

As Israel stood by the water-side, Let My people go;
At God’s command it did divide, Let My people go.
Go down, Moses, way down in Egypt’s land,
Tell old Pharaoh: Let My people go!

When they had reached the other shore, Let My people go;
They sang the song of freedom o’er, Let My people go.
Go down, Moses, way down in Egypt’s land,
Tell old Pharaoh: Let My people go!

 Act now so Earth be bondage free, Let ALL My peoples go;
And let all life be free to Be,Let air and water flow.
Go down, Moses, way down in every land,
Tell ALL Pharaohs: Let My creation go!

 

PSALM 148 in English, to the melody of “Michael Row the Boat Ashore”

These words set to this melody sparked by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi; words modified by Rabbi Arthur Waskow

For “Hallel,”psalms of praise,  at the Seder

Melody <https://www.google.com/#q=michael+row+the+boat+ashore+song&*>]

Praise God, sun and moon, Hallelu-Yah.


Praise Yah, you stars of light, Hallelu-Yah.


Praise God, you high heavens, Hallelu-Yah.


All that flows in all the world, Hallelu-Yah.

Let them all praise God's Name, Hallelu-Yah.


For God spoke and they appeared, Hallelu-Yah.


With God they take their stand, Hallelu-Yah.


God's rhythm none must break, Hallelu-Yah.

Praise Yah from the Earth, Hallelu-Yah.

You sea-monsters and all deeps, Hallelu-Yah.


Fire, hail, snow, and steam, Hallelu-Yah.


Stormy wind to do God's word, Hallelu-Yah.

Mountains high and tiny hills, Hallelu-Yah.


Trees of fruit and evergreens, Hallelu-Yah.


Wild beasts and quiet flocks, Hallelu-Yah.


Creeping bugs and winged birds, Hallelu-Yah.


Men and women, young and old, Hallelu-Yah!

Leaders high; officials low, Hallelu-Yah.

Whole societies and peoples, Hallelu-Yah.

Kol ha’neshama t’hallel Yahh, Hallelu=Yah

The songs below might be sung tward the close of the Seder

My Rainbow Race  (By Pete Seeger)

Melody <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxXzD0eQQBg>

[Chorus:]

One blue sky above us

 One ocean lapping all our shore

One earth so green and round

Who could ask for more?

And because I love you

I'll give it one more try

To show my rainbow race

It's too soon to die.


Some folks want to be like an ostrich,

Bury their heads in the sand.

Some hope that plastic dreams

Can unclench all those greedy hands.

Some hope to take the easy way: Poisons, bombs. They think we need 'em.

Don't you know you can't kill all the unbelievers? There's no shortcut to freedom.

[Chorus]

Go tell, go tell all the little children.

Tell all the mothers and fathers too.

Now's our last chance to learn to share

What's been given to me and you.

[Chorus]


The Earth Internationale

For melody of the Internationale:

Sung in traditional English <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrMwNuS7aUQ>

Sung in Yiddish --  <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMlNy71IrkU>

Words here by Rabbi Arthur Waskow

Arise, ye prisoners of pollution;

Arise, ye poisoned of the Earth!

We dance to make a revolution—

A better world’s in birth!

No more the corporate smoke shall blind us,

We can hear the trees and oceans call --

Humankind amidst the breathing life-forms—

Together we are all!

As we face the crisis of all history,

Let us rise to heal our Place.

To save our deeply wounded planet

We must awake the human race!

 

Shnirele Perele

(For melody, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBby_P9nkYs>)

(Yiddish words and folk melody may be connected with Gott fun Avrom (God of Abraham), a woman’s prayer for the end of Shabbat. Some attribute the song to Rebbe Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev.)

 (English translation below by Rabbi Arthur Waskow)

Shnirele perele gilderne fon 

 meshiekh ben dovid zist oybn on 

 halt a bekher in der rekhter hant 

makht a brokhe afn gantsn land.

 Oi, omeyn ve-omeyn dos iz vor

 meshiekh vet kumen hayntiks yor.

 

 Vet er kumen tsu forn 

 veln zayn gute yorn 

 vet er kumen tsu raytn 

 veln zayn gute tsaytn 

vet er kumen tsu geyn 

veln di yidn in Eretz Yisroyl aynshteyn. 

 

Ribbons, pearls, so the story's told,

Mashiach child of David flies a flag of gold.

Raises a wine-cup in the right hand

And gives a blessing upon every land.

 

 Ameyn, ameyn, this is true and clear  --

 Mashiach is coming this very year.

 If she comes well fed, good harvests ahead.  

 If he comes by riding, we'll follow his guiding. 

 If we come by foot,

 In the Earth we'll take root.

 

 

Democracy is Coming to the USA, by Leonard Cohen

[This song may be too long and complex for all to sing at the Seder table. But it seems especially poignant and pertinent this year. Some Seders might want to bring it live and loud from the Internet, and have everyone join in the chorus.

Melody: <https://www.google.com/#q=democracy+is+coming+to+the+usa+leonard+cohen+youtube&*>

 

It's coming through a hole in the air
From those nights in Tiananmen Square
It's coming from the feel
That it ain't exactly real
Or it's real, but it ain't exactly there
From the wars against disorder
From the sirens night and day
From the fires of the homeless
From the ashes of the gay
Democracy is coming to the u.s.a

It's coming through a crack in the wall
On a visionary flood of alcohol
From the staggering account
Of the Sermon on the Mount
Which I don't pretend to understand at all
It's coming from the silence
On the dock of the bay
From the brave, the bold, the battered
Heart of Chevrolet
Democracy is coming to the u.s.a

It's coming from the sorrow on the street
The holy places where the races meet
From the homicidal bitchin'
That goes down in every kitchen
To determine who will serve and who will eat
From the wells of disappointment
Where the women kneel to pray
For the grace of God in the desert here
And the desert far away
Democracy is coming to the u.s.a


CHORUS:
Sail on, sail on

O mighty ship of state!
To the shores of need
Past the reefs of greed
Through the squalls of hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on...

It's coming to America first
The cradle of the best and of the worst
It's here they got the range
And the machinery for change
And it's here they got the spiritual thirst
It's here the family's broken
And it's here the lonely say
That the heart has got to open
In a fundamental way
Democracy is coming to the u.s.a

It's coming from the women and the men
Oh baby, we'll be making love again
We'll be going down so deep
That the river's going to weep
And the mountain's going to shout Amen!
It's coming like the tidal flood
Beneath the lunar sway
Imperial, mysterious
In amorous array
Democracy is coming to the u.s.a

Sail on, sail on
O mighty ship of state!
To the shores of need
Past the reefs of greed
Through the squalls of hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on...

I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean
I love the country but I can't stand the scene
And I'm neither left or right
I'm just staying home tonight
Getting lost in that hopeless little screen
But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags
That time cannot decay
I'm junk but I'm still holding up
This little wild bouquet
Democracy is coming to the u.s.a


Olam Chesed Yibaneh, by Rabbi Menachem Creditor

(For melody, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHp-jcPlKIY>

For the next-to-last song

Olam Chesed Yibaneh:

I will build this world from love

And you must build this world from love

And if we build this world from love

Then God will build this world from love.

 

"We Have the Whole World in Our Hands"

 

  (Maybe to end the Seder while passing a Globe from hand to hand:)

 

Melody <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIQUOIyE7q0>)

 

We have the whole world in our hands,

 

We have the rain and the forests in our hands,
We  have the wind and the honeybees in our hands,
WE HAVE THE WHOLE WORLD IN OUR HANDS!

We have the rivers and the mountains in our hands,
We have the lakes and the oceans in our hands

 

We have you and me in our hands,
We have the whole world in our hands.

 

We have trees and tigers in our hands,

 

We have our sisters and our brothers in our hands,

 

We have our children and their children in our hands,

 

WE HAVE THE WHOLE WORLD IN OUR HANDS!

 

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