Schlesinger’s setting of yigdal, typically Germanic in its stylistic approach, incorporated the new Reform variant of the poem in the final two stanzas—as printed in Merzbacher’s 1855 prayerbook. His approach to the simple, straightforward text of v’shamru is overly romanticized and operatic; and his “Kindle the Taper,” conceived to replace hanerot hallalu for the candle-lighting on Hanukka—and sung in Reform Sabbath eve services during Hanukka—is an overblown treatment that also reflects a combination of French and Italian operatic influence.
Sung in Hebrew
Words: Liturgy (Reform variant for stanzas 12-13)
Extolled be the living God, and praised be he; he existeth, but his existence is not bounded by time.
He is One, but there is no unity like unto his unity; he is incomprehensible, and his unity is unending.
He hath no material form, he is incorporeal, and we cannot compare his holiness to aught that is.
He existed before all things that are created; he is the first, but there is no beginning to his existence.
Behold! he is the Lord of the world and throughout all; the creation evinceth his mighty power and dominion.
The inspiration of his prophecy did he bestow on the men of his peculiar and glorious people.
There never arose a prophet in Israel like unto Moses, who beheld God's similitude.
A true law hath God given to his people, by the hand of his prophet who was faithful in his house.
God will never alter nor change his law for any other.
He beholdeth and knoweth all our secrets; for he vieweth the end of a thing at its commencement.
He bestoweth kindness on man according to his deeds, and sendeth evil unto the wicked according to his wickedness.
At the end of days will he grant salvation, and all living will acknowledge his help.
God vivifieth all things in his great mercy. Blessed be the name of his glory forevermore.
KINDLE THE TAPER
Sung in English
Kindle the taper like the steadfast star, ablaze on evening's forehead o'er the earth. Send through the night its luster till afar. An eightfold Splendor shine above the hearth. Clash, Israel! the cymbals, touch the lyre. Blow the loud trumpet and the clear-tongued horn, chant psalms of victory till the heart takes fire: the Maccabean spirit leaps newborn, the Maccabean spirit leaps newborn. Amen, Amen.
Sung in Hebrew
Words: Sabbath liturgy (Exodus 31: 16-17)
And the children of Israel observed the Sabbath, keeping the Sabbath as an everlasting covenant throughout all their generations. It shall be an everlasting sign between me and between the children of Israel, that God hath made in six days the heaven and the earth; and the seventh day He rested, and life's creation was finished.
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