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Our title for the album comes from the most famous question of the Passover Seder: “Why is this night different from all other nights?”

The ancient celebration of Passover happens under the light of the first Full Moon after the Spring Equinox. Around a table, we sing the joy of our freedom and speak stories of survival against great odds. This elegant, elaborate, and engaging ritual offers many mechanisms that can help us emerge from the perilous passage of Winter, as we recount and reclaim ancestral and collective narratives, and aspire as individuals to wake up from our personal hibernation, habituation, and constriction.

Explore below for lyrics and fuller explorations of the meaning behind each song:

  1. Vesamachta (Ivy's Niggun) · ושמחת
  2. Ha Lachma Anya · הא לחמא עניא
  3. Bechol Dor Vador · בכל דור ודור 
  4. Ozi · עזי
  5. Malei Shira · מלא שירה
  6. Dodi Li · דודי לי
  7. Ana El Na · אנא אל נא

Album Credits

Written and produced by Rabbi Shir Yaakov and Renee Finkelstein (aka Radharani)
Mix Engineer: Renee Finkelstein 

Julian Waterfall Pollack, piano and keyboards
Steve Gorn, Bansuri flute
Noah Hoffeld, cello
Seth Lieberman, clarinet
Aaron Johnston, drums on "Bechol Dor Vador"

Executive Producers: Alumah Schuster, Alice Rudnick, Larry & Shelley Schwartz, Steve & Shari Kaplan, and Maury Hoberman


Haim Shtrum
Dani and Esther
JnJ 25 years 💜
Lily Perlman Davis
Mae Feinstein
DRebra (DRE) & Laszlo Sterling-Summers
Dov Ben Khayyim
Mitchell Jonathan Schwartz
Dr & Mrs George & Bea Alterbaum z”l
Itta and Sigmund Brief z”l
In loving memory of Philip Abrams and Leah Landy
Soulful Shabbat Community
To the breath that fuels the voices of both Shir and Renee
Tzvi ben Yeruchum Yachov Halevi
Bernard Graff
Hyman Bergstein
Jill Schneiderman and Meg Stewart
Elka Siwek Weinberg, Bertha Weinberg Debowsky, and Phyllis Debowsky Schneider
To the music that sustains us all
Kathy Kiskadden, Robert Kiskadden, Gabrielle Gottlieb, Bear Akka
For my brother, Paul Amsterdam... may his memory be for a blessing.
Dr. Anthony Gribbin
Marci Sclove
Ben Beckman
Chanan and Lora Warshawsky. Evie Goldfarb
Martin Brownstein
Bess and Sam Leibel
Amy & Ruby Blu Hannes
Ernestine Richman Rubin
Gratitude for song and spirit
Your work is essential to the joy of my identity. Thank you.

This Night Liner Notes

Vesamachta · ושמחת

וְשָׂמַחְתָּ בְּחַגֶּךָ… וְהָיִיתָ אַךְ שָׂמֵחַ

קדש · ורחץ · כרפס · יחץ
מגיד · רחצה · מוציא מצה
מרור · כורך · שולחן עורך
צפון · ברך · הלל · נרצה 

“Rejoice in your holy day. It will be such joy!”

Ve·sa·mach·ta  be·cha·ge·cha  ve·ha·yi·ta  ach  sa·mei·ach!

We start by singing our way through the spiritual menu of the holiday seder. "Seder" means order or sequence. No matter what dishes are going to be served, this song enumerates the fiftnee inner steps or stages (simanim in Hebrew; a siman (singular) is a symbol or sign) of the Passover process.

Ha Lachma Anya · הא לחמא עניא

הָא לַחְמָא עַנְיָא דִי אֲכָלוּ אַבְהָתָנָא בְּאַרְעָא דְמִצְרָיִם
כָּל דִכְפִין יֵיתֵי וְיֵיכֹל כָּל דִצְרִיךְ יֵיתֵי וְיִפְסַח

הָשַׁתָּא הָכָא לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בְּאַרְעָא דְיִשְׂרָאֵל
הָשַׁתָּא עַבְדֵי לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בְּנֵי חוֹרִין

Ha lach·ma an·ya di a·cha·lu
av·ha·ta·na be·ar·a de·mitz·ra·yim.
Kol dich·fin yei·tei ve·yei·chol
Kol ditz·rich yei·tei ve·yif·sach.

Ha·sha·ta ha·cha le·sha·nah ha·ba·ah be·ar·a de·yis·ra·el.
Ha·sha·ta av·dei le·sha·nah ha·ba·ah be·nei cho·rin.

This is the bread of affliction
That our parents needed to eat
All who hunger, come to feast
All in need, find release

We begin the section known as The Telling from a humble place. We all contain undernourished selves. Perhaps you have some brokenness to heal. Is tonight a good place to share those fractured parts?

Bechol Dor Vador · בכל דור ודור

בְּכָל־דּוֹר וָדוֹר חַיָּב אָדָם לִרְאוֹת אֶת־עַצְמוֹ… 
וְהִגַּדְתָּ לְבִנְךָ בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא לֵאמֹר, בַּעֲבוּר זֶה עָשָׂה ה' לִי

“In each and every generation, a person is obligated to see themselves as if they personally left Egypt, as it is stated (Exodus 13:8); ‘And you shall explain to your child on that day: For the sake of this, did HAVAYAH do [this] for me…’.”

The Hasidic master Rebbe Nachman of Breslov punctuates this line from the Haggadah differently in order to significantly and profoundly change the meaning. In each and every generation a person is obligated to see themselves. Period. And this self-seeing, this inner inquiry, is the going out of Egypt, is the exodus towards freedom. This is not only once in a generation, but every single one of us, every single year; perhaps every single day! 

Enjoy this fifteen-minute meditation with Reb Shir on the Five Cups to prepare the inner altar:

Ozi · עזי

עָזִּי וְזִמְרָת יָהּ וַיְהִי לִי לִישׁוּעָה

Malei Shira · מלא שירה

אִלּוּ פִינוּ מָלֵא שִׁירָה כַּיָּם
מָלֵא שִׁירָה, שִׁירָה כַּיָּם

אֵין אֲנַחְנוּ מַסְפִּיקִים לְהוֹדוֹת לְךָ
לְהוֹדוֹת לְהַלֵּל
לְשַׁבֵּחַ לְפָאֵר
לְרוֹמֵם לְהַדֵּר
לְבָרֵךְ לְעַלֵּה

I·lu fi·nu ma·lei shi·rah kai·yam x3
ma·lei shi·rah, shi·rah kai·yam x2

Ein a·nach·nu mas·pi·kim le·ho·dot le·cha x3
le·ho·dot le·ha·lel
le·sha·bei·ach le·fa·er
le·ro·mem le·ha·deir
le·va·rech le·a·leh...

I·lu fi·nu ma·lei shi·rah kai·yam

Dodi Li · דודי לי

 דּוֹדִי לִי וַאֲנִי לוֹ הָרֹעֶה בַּשּׁוֹשַׁנִּים
אֲנִי יְשֵׁנָה וְלִבִּי עֵר קוֹל דּוֹדִי דוֹפֵק פִּתְחִי לִי

Do·di li va·a·ni lo ha·ro·eh ba·sho·sha·nim.
A·ni ye·she·nah ve·li·bi er kol do·di do·fek pit·ḫi li

My beloved is mine and I am his,
who shepherds among the lilies.

I sleep, but my heart is awake.
The voice of my beloved knocks. Open to me...

Ana El Na · אנא אל נא

אֵל נָא רְפָא נָא לָהּ

A·na el na r'fa na lah

Please heal them, please Great Spirit heal them