Got geyt mir nok umetum 02:22
Khoyves 01:57
Got un mentsh 01:34

Liner Notes

The group of settings of poems by Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907–1972), one of the most influential and original theologian-philosophers of the 20th century, stand among the most profound achievements of Lazar Weiner’s creative life. In these three songs—Got geyt mir nokh umetum (God Follows Me Everywhere), Khoyves (Debts),and Got un mentsh (God and Man) (1973)—the poetry examines the relationship between God and man and explores man’s anguished efforts to live a life worthy of the compassionate force that created him. The songs are uncompromisingly sober, and in Got un mentsh a contrapuntal web of independent lines, tonal but highly dissonant, is woven around an eloquent parlando line. The intensity of expression is embodied perfectly in the technical language.

By: Yehudi Wyner



Poet: Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972)


God follows me everywhere— 
Spins a net of glances around me, 
Warms my sightless back like the sun.

God follows me like a forest everywhere. 
My lips, filled with wonder, are fully numb, dumb 
Like a child who blunders upon an ancient holy place.

God follows me like a shiver everywhere. 
The desire in me is for rest; the demand within me is: Rise up,
See how prophetic visions lie neglected in the streets!

I wander with my reveries as with a secret
In a long corridor through the world— 
And sometimes I see, high above me, the faceless face of God.

[God follows me in tramways, in cafés.
And it is only with the backs of one’s eyes that one can see 
How secrets ripen, how visions come to be.]


Hours demand payment, hours cry out:
When will you pay the debts for your dreams?

Every hour leaves me a last will and testament.
Days cry out as if they were years.

Words have seduced me, intoxicated me with their range.
I am heroic only in waiting, mighty only in ardor.

I have not rewarded the world for even one breath.
Oh, how dare I borrow time from a new future?

Dreams are debts, songs are oaths.
When will I pay for the dreams, for the debts?


Not for Your own sake do You want sacrificial gifts
Only for those disappointed in Your love.
I don’t value Your mercy for honor’s sake;
Only for those abandoned by all.

Rape shames You less
Than people’s tears, than screams of woe.
Blasphemy pains You less
Than people’s despair.

He who blasphemes people, the world—
Shames You, Almighty;
He who loves people—
Brings joy to You, Holy One


got geyt mir nokh umetum
shpint a nets fun blikn mir arum,
blendt mayn blindn rukn vi a zun.

got geyt mir nokh vi a vald umetum.
un shtendik shtoynen mayne lipn hartsik shtum,
vi a kind, vos blondzshet in an altn heyliktum.

got geyt in mir nokh vi a shoyder umetum.
es glust zikh mir ru, es mont in mir: kum!
kuk vi zeungen valgern af gasn zikh arum.

ikh gey in rayoynes mayne um vi a sod
in a langn koridor durkh di velt—
un derze a mol hoykh iber mir, dos ponimloze ponim fun got.


sho’en monen, sho’en shrayen: 
—ven vestu di troymen, di khoyves batsoln?

s’lozt yede sho mir iber a tsavoe. 
es shrayen di teg glaykh zey voltn zayn yorn.

s’hobn verter mikh farfirt, mit vaytkayt mikh farshikert. 
bin nor heldish in vartn, nor mekhtik in hislahaves.

far keyn shum otem hob ikh velt nokh nit baloynt.
o, vi vag ikh afsnay tsukunft, tsayt nokh tsu borgn?

khaloymes zenen khoyves, lider zenen shvues. 
ven vel ikh di troymen, di khoyves batsoln?


nisht far zikh vilstu korbones,
nor far antoyshte in dayn libe.
kh’hob nisht af koved dayn rakhmones,
nor af farlozene fun ale.

s’farshemt dikh shendung nisht azoy,
vi mentshns trern, veygeshrey;
s’tut nisht lesterung azoy dir vey,
vi a mentshlekhe fartsveyflung.

ver es lestert mentshn, velt—
iz dikh, almekhtiker, mevaze;
ver in mentshn zikh farlibt—
iz dikh, heyliker, mehane.



Composer: Lazar Weiner

Length: 02:22
Genre: Art Song

Performers: David Ossenfort, Tenor;  Yehudi Wyner, Piano

Date Recorded: 12/01/2001
Venue: Lefrak Concert Hall/Colden Center for the Arts (E), Flushing, New York
Engineer: Lazarus, Tom
Assistant Engineer: Martyn, Tim


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