Thursday, June 5, 2008
Shavuot Song from Kerala, India
Muyimpāya Tampirāntĕ (When Moses Received Knowlede)
This Kerala "play song" is about Mutaliyār Moses' receipt of the Torah on Mount Sinai. At the critical moment of transmission, Moses' hands slip and he drops the heavy tablets! Luckily, Moses has the insight to quickly record everything inscribed on the broken tablets and the Torah is saved for future generations. This song alludes to a popular midrash that describes how the letters of the tablets flew off when Moses came down the mountain and saw the Jewish people worshiping the golden calf. To listen to a recording of this song, click here.
English Translation of the Lyrics
The Lord Who is the First gave all knowledge to Moshe,
And with that knowledge he gave praises to God.
On Sinai Mountain God appeared in royal splendor.
On Seir Mountain, there the fire was burning.
All the incense of this world was thrown into the fire,
So that the smoke would rise with a pleasant fragrance.
"Oh let that smoke go up-up into heaven."
Then that smoke went up-up into heaven.
And Mutaliyār Moshe went and spoke about it.
He spoke to his brother, Aaron Hacohen.
"Oh Moshe, receive it into your hands."
Mutaliyār Moshe took it without looking at it.
It feel down from his hands because it became heavy.
"Oh Moshe, make the effort; try to write it down."
So he made the effort and he wrote it down.
And that was for the good of the Children of Israel,
It was for their good and for their freedom.
Blessed, blessed be Mutaliyār Moshe.
Blessed, blessed be the children of Israel.
The Lord God lives forever and forever.
May His holy name be blessed forever and forever.
This Shavuot song is included in the JMRC album "Oh, Lovely Parrot: Jewish Women's Songs from Kerala." Performed by Rahel Nehemia, Toba Sofer and others. Recorded by Avigdor Herzog, Moshav Taoz, December 23, 1982.