Ashira Morgenstern | Faith Is Like a Garden

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Faith Is Like a Garden

by Ashira Morgenstern

From the heart of Jerusalem – poetry, tefila and songs illuminate Torah texts. Chassidic stories and original melodies are woven into a tapestry of musical styles, from quiet ballad and playful klezmer to folk-inspired world.
Genre: Spiritual: Jewish Folk
Release Date: 

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1. River (feat. Avi Singolda)
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3:32 $0.99
2. Ani Ma'amin (feat. Jeff Horvitch)
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4:26 album only
3. Circle Dance (feat. Yitzhak Attias & Avi Singolda)
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5:12 $0.99
4. Arvoles (The Trees) [feat. Aris Nachum]
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3:50 album only
5. B'lvavi (Sanctuary) [feat. Tamar Attias & Jeff Horvitch]
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4:22 $0.99
6. Child Within (feat. Jeff Horvitch, Avi Singolda & Yaron Gottfried)
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3:59 album only
7. Gott Fon Avroham (feat. Yaron Gottfried & Jeff Horvitch)
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4:29 $0.99
8. King and Emperor (feat. Yitzhak Attias, Jeff Horvitch & Avraham Solomons)
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4:37 album only
9. The Sofievka (feat. Avi Singolda)
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6:13 album only
10. Faith Is Like a Garden (feat. Yaron Gottfried & Avi Singolda)
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4:08 album only
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Through stories and lyrics woven from ancient wisdom into gentle, folk-inspired songs, Jerusalem’s Chasidic teacher/singer/songwriter “Ashira Morgenstern” continues to explore hidden dimensions of the Torah in ways that speak to the heart.

Ashira first began writing/presenting songs in 1978 as a student of Rebbetzin Sara Freifeld a”h in Far Rockaway, NY. After immigrating to Israel, she appeared in concerts (for women only) as an innovative way to teach Torah. Released in 2006, this recording of ten songs ranges in style from quiet ballad to playful klezmer and folk-inspired world.

Arrangements and Creative Production:
Jeff Horvitch and Ashira Morgenstern

What People Are Saying About Ashira:

“[Ashira’s music] represents a breakthrough for Jewish women because it is by and for the principles that govern our lives… a way to recapture the sense of community missing from today’s paradoxical society…” – Nama Frenkel, The Jewish Observer

“Her focus on themes of Jewish womanhood, combined with the fact that she performs in concert for women only, made Ashira’s appearance on the Jewish music scene an intriguing a phenomenon. Her decision to record and distribute her original songs while respecting Torah guidelines is one that has since been echoed by many orthodox Jewish women worldwide.” – Ruth Goldenberg, Women of Valor

“Ashira speaks and sings about Jewish women of the past and present , connecting their experiences. With a mixture of medrash and quiet, folk-music style, her original songs go straight to the heart...” – The Northwest Star

“As I listened to Ashira’s album the first time and then listened to it again and again for hours, my daughters were drawn to the music like bees to nectar.” – Y. Yahalom, HaModia

SONGS

01-THE RIVER

This song describes supernal and soon to be rebuilt Jerusalem, ultimate source of all wisdom and blessing. The Hebrew words are from Tehillim (Psalms) 46:5 "The river -- its streams will gladden the City of God, sanctified dwelling place of the Most High" and from Yishayahu (Isaiah) 12:3 " Draw water with rejoicing from wellsprings of salvation."
Based on the Lekutey Moharan and the Sipurei Masiyoth of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov.

LYRICS:

Well, it could have been the way You smiled at me today,
Or it could have been the sunlight as it danced upon the floor.
I don't know if or when I'll feel like this again,
But happiness is knocking and I'm opening the door.

Oh, the heart is like a city where many songs are sung
To celebrate each newborn day with joy forever young,
'Cause the greatest of all treasures, there is no need to buy:
That shining, dancing drop of light sparkling in your eye.

Joy - flowing like a river ever changing, never changing from the start,
Bringing life to the city of your heart.

They say there is a river not so far away
Where two golden birds they sing and fly to where they may.
The heart beats with ten kinds of song upon this river wide;
May ancient wisdom take you there, may courage be your guide.

Vocals: Ashira
Guitars: Avi Singolda
Piano: Yaron Gottfried
Midi Tracks: Jeff Horvitch
Music and Lyrics © 2006 by Ashira Morgenstern

02-ANI MA’AMIN

The first of the 13 Tenets of Faith, by the Rambam. Reb Michel Dorfman z"l encouraged us to say this first tenet every day, so I decided to set it to a melody. The English lyrics/vocals were composed and recorded on my 40th day of davening (prayer) at the Kotel, 4th of Nissan 5766-2006.

ENGLISH LYRICS:

I believe with all my soul that our Creator
May His Name bring blessing to us all
Is creating and guiding everything seen and unseen
And that He alone is the One
Who makes all in the past, the present, and in time to come
Beyond what I can conceive
I believe, oh I believe.

We have been waiting for You so very long,
And though it seems that everything that can go wrong
Has gone wrong…. Even so…

Vocals: Ashira
Guitars: Avi Singolda
Piano: Yaron Gottfried
Midi Tracks: Jeff Horvitch
Music and English Lyrics © 2006 by Ashira Morgenstern

03-CIRCLE DANCE

Literal translation of Hebrew: “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped; then the lame shall skip like a gazelle and the tongue of the mute shall sing, for water has broken forth in the desert and streams in the plain” – Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 35:5-6.

LYRICS:

Circle dancers gathering here
Some with a smile, some with a tear.
Lost and broken, joining hands
Preparing for a circle dance
The blind can see
The deaf can hear

Simple courage makes us wise.
The light of hope is in our eyes.
Just like mirrors clear and true,
Reflecting all that we’ve been through
Shattered voices reach the skies.

REFRAIN:

“The eyes of the blind shall be opened to see
And the ears of the deaf shall be opened to hear
The lame shall skip like deer on the hill
And the tongue of the silent, the silent shall sing
As water, crystal clear and sweet
Springs from the wilderness, awakening the land
Healing, wondrous and complete
Streams in the desert sand.” (Yeshayahu 35:5-6)

Vocals: Ashira
Guitars: Avi Singolda
Piano: Yaron Gottfried
Midi Tracks: Jeff Horvitch
Music and English Lyrics © 2006 by Ashira Morgenstern

04-ARVOLES (TREES WEEP FOR RAIN)

According to eye-witness accounts of survivors, this song in Judeo-Espagnol (Ladino) was sung by the Jewish community of Rhodes as they were being transported to concentration camps in war-torn Europe. Ladino lyrics and melody – traditional.

Aris Nachum, who plays the Bouzouki on this recording, is the son of an accomplished musician who immigrated to Israel from Greece after miraculously surviving these transports.

ENGLISH LYRICS:

Trees weep for the rain, and mountains, for the wind
Just as my eyes weep for You, my Dear One, my Beloved.
Again I say, what will become of me?
In a foreign land I will surely die…

Arvoles lloran por luvias, y montañas por aires
Ansí lloran los mis ojos por ti, querida ’mante
Ansi lloran los mis ojos por ti, querida ’mante

REFRAIN:
Torno y digo que va ser de mi?
En tierras ajenas yo me vo morir…

Enfrente de mi hay un angelo
Con tus ojos me mira
Llorar quero, y no puedo, mi corazón suspira
Llorar quero, y no puedo, mi corazón suspira
Torno y digo…

Blanca sos, blanca vistes
Blanca la tu figura
Blancas flores caen de ti de la tu hermozura
Blancas flores caen de ti de la tu hermozura
Torno y digo…

Ven verás, ven y verás,
Y ven verás, veremos
En l'amor que mos tenemos, ven mos aunaremos
En l'amor que mos tenemos, ven mos aunaremos
Torno y digo…

Translation of Ladino text:

Before me stands an angel
Looking at me through Your eyes
I want to cry but I cannot
My heart can only sigh.

You are so pure, dressed all in white
Fair is Your face
White blossoms fall away from You
Because of Your beauty.

Come, and You will see
Come, and together we"ll see
In this love we share
Come, let us be as one.

Vocals: Ashira
Andean Drum: Yitzhak Attias
Midi Arrangement: Jeff Horvitch
Bouzouki: Aris Nachum
Guitars: Avi Singolda
English Translation of Traditional Ladino Lyrics © 2006 by Ashira Morgenstern


05-B’LVAVI

LYRICS:
Bilvavi Mishkan ev-neh l’ hadar k’vo - do
U’beh – mishkan, miz – beyach ah-sim
Im kar-ney ho - do

Deep in my heart I will build for Him
A dwelling to honor His Name
And there I will set an altar
With splendor more radiant than flame...

Vocals: Ashira
Flute: Tamar Attias
Guitar: Avi Singolda
Piano: Yaron Gottfried
Midi Tracks: Jeff Horvitch
Melody and Hebrew Lyrics Ascribed to Rav Yitzchak Hutner z"l
English Lyrics © 2006 by Ashira Morgenstern

06-CHILD WITHIN
"In order to fathom where we are going, we must look back at where we have been..." – Zohar Chadash

LYRICS:
Child within, like a sunset star unfolding
What are the keys that you are holding
So tightly in your hand?
Child within, silent as the moon I see you
Across the years I’ve come to free you
And it’s by your side I’ll stand.

Child within, in costumes and in masks
You are disguised
But now the sun is rising in your eyes
Oh child, my own, hidden child within.

Child within
Like a sunset star... What are the keys?
Silent as the moon... across the years I’ve come…
Child within, like a sunset star unfolding
What are the keys that you are holding
So tightly in your hand?
Child within, silent as the moon I see you
Across the years I’ve come to free you
And it’s by your side I’ll stand.

Child within, in costumes and in masks
You are disguised
But now the sun is rising in your eyes
Oh child, my own, hidden child within.

Child within… like a sunset star… what are the keys?
Silent as the moon… across the years I’ve come…

Thunder from a distant hill… curled up listening
Raindrops on a windowsill… streetlights glistening
Along the mountain trail to the shining lake below
Leaning on a pine wood tree, no place to go
Who will even try to find you here?
Locked within a prison made of every fear
Like an evening blackbird with a broken wing
Someday you’ll learn to fly and then you’ll sing!

Child within, the gates were locked until I found you
And now with music I’ll surround you, as you give your hand to me
Child within, like a sunset star unfolding
And all the keys that you are holding
Are the ones that set you free
At last you’ve given them to me.

Vocals: Ashira
Guitars: Avi Singolda
Piano: Yaron Gottfried
Midi Tracks: Jeff Horvitch
Music and Lyrics © 2006 by Ashira Morgenstern


07-GOTT FON AVROHOM

Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev advised that this prayer should be recited three times after Shabbath to ask for success during the coming week. Although the words are widely attributed to him, the prayer can be found in several texts published before his birth, and at least one Torah scholar traces the prayer’s authorship to Rabbi Akiva.

Literal translation of Yiddish:
God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, protect Your people, Israel, from all evil, [and may that protection serve as] Your praise. As the beloved, holy Sabbath takes leave [may] the coming week arrive to bring perfect faith, faith in scholars, love of and attachment to good friends, attachment to the Creator, Blessed is He, to have faith in Your Thirteen Principles, and in the complete and immediate Redemption, speedily in our days, in the Revival of the Dead and in the prophecy of our teacher, Moses, peace is upon him.

Master of the Universe, since You are the One Who gives strength to the weary – grant Your beloved Jewish children the strength to praise You, and to serve only You and no other. May this week arrive for kindness, for good fortune, for blessing, for success, for good health, for wealth and honor, and for lively, nourished children, for us and for all Israel. Amen.

ENGLISH LYRICS (Non-Literal Translation)

HaShem of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov
Who followed in Your ways
Protect Your People from all harm
For with our lives we sing your praise
As this precious, holy Shabbos
Now must take its leave
In the coming week, let us worthy be
Of all that we receive.

Guide us to good leaders,
Good counsel and good friends
Hold us near You
With love that never ends
Teach us to believe in
Your thirteen principles of faith
Carry us to freedom
Quickly in our days

And help us to believe in the renewal of life
And in the words of Moshe Rabeynu

Master of the World, You alone
Strengthen all who need
Help Your beloved children
To praise You in thought, word and deed
And to serve only You
We have no other King
Your kindness and good fortune
May this new week bring

Grant us blessings that we can clearly see
Health and happiness, wealth and dignity,
Lively children please help us to sustain
Not only for ourselves but for all Israel, Omen.

Vocals: Ashira
Guitars: Avi Singolda
Piano: Yaron Gottfried
Midi Tracks: Jeff Horvitch
Music and English Lyrics © 2006 by Ashira Morgenstern

08-KING AND EMPEROR

Based on "King and Emperor" - an allegory told by Rebbe Nachman of Breslov to describe the journey of every soul as it travels through this world.

LYRICS:

An emperor traveled the world around
(With a hey and a ho, the wind and the tide)
He wished for a child, but no cure could be found
(Oh how the water is wide)
He met a king with the very same need
If they were blessed, they both agreed
Their children would marry one another and so
Back to their homes they both did go.

To the emperor was born a daughter fine
While the kind had a son near the very same time
They forgot their vow as the children grew
But the prince and the princess somehow knew
That they were one, so they took a stand
And the prince gave his lady a ring for her hand.

“My daughter, ‘tis time for you to wed.”
“Oh father, I cannot for I love a lad.”
So the prince and the princess ran to the bay
Where they hired a ship and they sailed away
Until they came to a golden shore
Where the princess lost the ring she wore.

Instrumental melody: “I’ll Wait for You”

Narration: The emperor’s daughter took the ring, gave it to the prince, and then lay down to sleep. When the prince saw that she was about to wake up, he placed the ring next to her. They returned to the ship, but when the Emperor’s daughter realized they had forgotten the ring, she sent the prince to find it. He could not find the place, so he searched here and there until finally he lost his way. The Emperor’s daughter went to look for him, but she also lost her way…

They searched everywhere with a broken heart
But the ring was lost and they wandered apart
The prince sold himself into slavery
While to save her life, the princess hid in a tree
Four different men tried to capture her
Because she was the daughter of an emperor
The first, the son of a merchant was he
But the princess took his ship, and she fled to the sea.

The second man had wealth and a palace fine
Eleven maidservants she tricked with wine
Again she fled, playing music as they sailed
And over deadly pirates they prevailed.
The last evil man was a princely clown
With a burning glass, she cut him down.

All the while, the prince searched from place to place
Near a stream was a portrait of his true love’s face
Disguised as a man, the princess concealed
All the secrets she knew, but never revealed
Until she was offered the kingly throne
When she said, “True Prince, come, let us go home.”

Vocals: Ashira
Guitars: Avi Singolda
Midi Tracks: Jeff Horvitch
Bodhran and Blocks: Avraham Solomons
Music and English Lyrics © 2006 by Ashira Morgenstern

09-THE SOFIEVKA

In 1768 an estimated 30,000 Jewish men, women, and children were cruelly tortured and murdered by Cossack rebels and buried in a mass gravesite. It is with these holy martyrs that Rabbi Nachman of Breslov expressed his wish to remain after his passing. As a result, the shofar is sounded at this location every Rosh Hashanah, in the presence of thousands of Jews who come from all over the world to pray the traditional services together.

The Sofievka is a world-renown scenic park in Uman. Although it is some distance from the massacre, there is a tradition (not recorded in official Ukranian history) that it was actually built to commemorate a young girl who was killed by the Cossacks when her father – a prominent nobleman – tried to protect the Jews of the city.

LYRICS:

Upon a quiet riverside there stands a mighty tree
With roots that grow so deep and wide, and branches evergreen
Lifting its arms to hold back the tears of the skies
Pressed against the winter wind, it cries.
Once upon a time good people rested in its shade
And near this quiet riverside happy children played
Most of them were simple folk, never went to schools
Very few were scholars, but none were fools
For they lived by an eternal Truth, passed down to them with love
There is but One G-d above. There is… but One G-d above.

Each one of them was given a chance to compromise
“Deny your faith,” they were told, “Bow down and save your lives.”
Small children saw their mothers and fathers torn limb from limb
But not even one of them gave in.
In Sofievka park the flowers blossom every spring
Near waterfalls and woodlands dark that hide a shameful thing
Thirty thousand voices screaming to be saved
Sixty thousand hands in a shallow grave
Someday a generation will arise to understand
How even simple children, for faith took such a stand
For faith, took such a stand.

Upon a quiet riverside there stands a mighty tree
With roots that grow so deep and wide, and branches evergreen
Purple Morning Glories climb a whitewashed fence
Above the severed limbs of innocents
They thought the world would close its eyes
They thought we would forget
But evil cannot be disguised
And the past is present yet

Gathering from distant lands
To pray here, every year
Perhaps all those faithful souls have reappeared.

For we are the flowing river of humanity
And we are the living branches
Of that mighty tree, of that mighty tree
So we shall be their voices
And we shall be their hands
For we are the generation that finally understands.

Vocals: Ashira
Guitars: Avi Singolda
Midi Tracks: Jeff Horvitch
Shofar: The shofar heard in this recording is the actual shofar that belonged to Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, as sounded by the Baal Tekia of the Uman Rosh Hashana gathering, Rav Zuckerman. The recording was added to the song tracks in the studio, and it was complete serendipity that the key of the song "happened" to be in the exact same key as the shofar. The engineer who placed the track that day turned white as a ghost. "Was this planned?" he asked, incredulously. But no, it was not planned -- at least, not by me.

10-FAITH IS LIKE A GARDEN

Translation of verses in Biblical Hebrew: “Trust in God and do good, dwell in the Land and nurture faith. Delight in God, and He will give you the yearnings of your heart.” – Tehillim (Psalms) 37: 3-4.

LYRICS:

They say that faith is like a weapon
To strike down all who don’t believe
And that for faith life can be taken
While the survivors are left to grieve
But we say faith -- it is a candle
Glowing softly through the night
And all the darkness in the universe
Cannot diminish its humble light.

They say that faith is like an arrow
That can pierce a stony heart
Or a fiery wall of misconception
Keeping people far apart
But we say faith -- it is a smile
When no reasons for joy remain
And we say faith is like a garden
Standing in the summer rain.

REFRAIN: Tehillim (Psalms) 37: 3-4

Faith is the song that will arise
It’s the light you see when you close your eyes

We have walked a lonesome pathway
Between the mountains and the sea
Searching for tomorrow’s purpose
Asking for a way to be
Every question becomes an answer
When you find a way to live
Faith is all that we are given
And it’s all we have to give.

Vocals: Ashira
Guitars: Avi Singolda
Piano: Yaron Gottfried
Midi Tracks: Jeff Horvitch
Music and English Lyrics © 2006 by Ashira Morgenstern

Dear Listener,

I hope these songs bring light to your path!
Wishing you faith and joy always,
Ashira Morgenstern
3 Elul 5766 (27 August 2006)
Jerusalem


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