|Yihyu l'ratzon - May the words||01:57|
Lazar Weiner’s Friday evening (Sabbath eve) service, Zekher l’ma’ase [Zecher l’maaseh], was commissioned by New York’s Central Synagogue in 1970 to celebrate its centennial year. In their inventive construction, lean harmonies, and exquisite tastefulness, all the constituent settings reflect Weiner’s trademark standards. Yet their sophistication never shines for its own sake, but rather as an adjunct to prayer and a manifestly liturgical expression. Weiner always claimed to be personally nonreligious. But music such as this leads one to the porous line between religious and nonreligious, for this service is in every way sacred music that demonstrates its composer’s thorough understanding of the liturgical texts and their implications. There are subtle modal tendencies in some of the sonorities, which serve as a link between Sabbath joy and sober spirituality.
Sung in Hebrew
Who, among all the mighty, can be compared with You, O Lord?
Who is like You, glorious in Your holiness, awesome beyond praise, performing wonders? When You rescued the Israelites at the Sea of Reeds, splitting the sea in front of Moses, Your children beheld Your majestic supreme power and exclaimed: "This is our God: The Lord adonai will reign for all time."
The children of Israel shall keep and guard the Sabbath and observe it throughout their generations as an eternal covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever, that the Lord adonai created heaven and earth in six days, and that on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.
Cause us, O Lord, our God, to retire for the evening in peace and then again to arise unto life, O our King, and spread Your canopy of peace over us. Direct us with Your counsel and save us for the sake of Your name. Be a shield around us. Remove from our midst all enemies, plague, sword, violence, famine, hunger, and sorrow. [And also remove evil temptation from all around us, sheltering us in the shadow of Your protecting wings.]
For indeed You are a gracious and compassionate King. Guard our going and coming, for life and in peace, from now on and always. Spread over us the sheltering canopy of Your peace. [Praised be You, O Lord, who spreads the canopy of peace over us and over all Your people Israel, and over all Jerusalem.]
YIH'YU L'RATZON (MAY THE WORDS)
Sung in Hebrew and English
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable unto Thee, Oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Amen.
May they who observe the Sabbath and experience its delight rejoice in Your sovereignty. The people that hallows the seventh day will benefit from Your bounty and abundance. For You took pleasure in the seventh day and made it a holy day, calling it the most desirable day—a remembrance of creation.
Translation from the Hebrew by Rabbi Morton M. Leifman