Mesorah (Jewish stuff)

Songs of Purim

I'm a fireman!!

Purim is almost upon us (it’s this Thursday, in case you were unaware)!!  It’s an exciting holiday, full of fun, giving charity, eating  yummy food, dressing up in costumes, and revelry in general.  If you would like to read up on what Purim is all about, here’s an informative article from Aish.com.

Anyways, I had so much fun making my Songs of Chanukah post, I decided to do the same thing for Purim.

And, like the songs of Chanukah, I am very familiar with the tunes to Purim songs, but I just do not know the words.  Sure, I know the beginnings of all the songs, or at least the part where I’m singing the title, but after that, it’s all “la la la la la.”

Little Man has been learning about Purim in school, and it’s been cute to hear him incorporate some of the main characters, mainly Queen Esther and Mordechai, into his repertoire of imaginary playmates.  Also, he will randomly impart his learnings to me, usually at meal time.

Little Man:  “Queen Esther was nice.  Haman was not very nice.”

Me:  “I see.  What about King Achashverosh?” (yeah, I know, say that three times fast)

LM:  “He was nice.”

Me:  “Really?  I don’t think he was so nice.”

LM:  “NO HE WAS NICE!!!!!!!!!”

Me:  “Okie doke.”

Despite our slight disagreement on this matter, we both agree that we love the songs, and he is happy to hear me pretend to know how to sing them.

And now for some music!

Mishe Nichnas Adar

This is always the first song that comes to mind when I think of Purim Songs.  I actually think about it on Rosh Chodesh Adar (Adar is the Jewish month we are currently experiencing, as well as the month in which Purim occurs), since that is what its lyrics reference.  The lyrics are taken from Ta’anis 29a, which is in the gemara, and they refer to the idea that when the month of Adar starts, everyone gets happier.  I know I do.  The traditional tune is lively and its cheerfulness contagious.

As for the video, I don’t know who this Gad Elbaz guy is, but he must be a rockstar, what with all that fog in the background.  The actual melody I’m looking for starts around 1:02.  One thing I like about this arrangement is that there’s a little extra Middle Eastern flavor thrown into the mix.

Here are the words:

Mishe Nichnas Adar marbim b’simcha.

Here’s what they mean:

When Adar arrives we increase our joy.

(source:  Aish.com – Purim Songs)

Chag Purim, Shoshanat Yaakov, & U’Mordechai Yatza

This is a great medley.  Three songs in one video!

Chag Purim is usually the second Purim song I think of, after Mishe Nichnas Adar.  It’s a great song for kids (after all, it does include the phrase, “let’s make some noise,” and what kid would refuse that offer?).  I’m not sure where the lyrics come from, but they sum up some of the party aspects of the holiday.

Shoshanat Yaakov (or, if you say it like I do, “Shoshanas Yaakov”) is from the traditional Purim liturgy.  We recite this hymn following the reading of the Megillah.  It’s a whole lot of words, and I highly doubt that I will ever commit this one to memory.  I just read it from my siddur.  The version in the videos cuts out a bunch of the words, making it slightly more accessible.  The tune is new to me, and I really like it.  I’m also digging the awesome klezmeresque clarinet action, but I am pretty biased.

U’Mordechai Yatza is from the Book of Esther, chapter 8 verse 15 (and 16 as well, in this version).  This is a super triumphant point in the Purim story, where the tide has just turned in favor of our heroes, and honor has been bestowed upon Mordechai.   When the version in the video includes the words from the following verse in the megillah, it brings home the happiness the Jews felt at the success of their heroes.

Here are the words for Chag Purim:

Chag Purim, Chag Purim, chag gadol la Yehudim.

Masechot v’raashanim, shirim v’rikudim.

Hava narisha, raash, raash, raash.

Hava narisha – raash, raash, raash – b’raashanim b’raashanim.

Chag Purim, Chag Purim, zel el zeh sholchim manot,

Machmadim, mamtakim, tunifim migdanot.

(and then the Hava narisha part again)

and here’s what they mean:

The festival of Purim, the festival of Purim, a great festival for the Jews.

Masks and noisemakers, songs and dancing.

Let’s make noise – noise, noise, noise – with noisemakers.

The festival of Purim, the festival of Purim, we send gifts to one another,

Treats, sweets, and other nice things.

(and then the Let’s make noise part again)

* * *

Here are the words for this version of Shoshanas Yaakov:

Shoshanat Yaakov tzahala v’sameichah, birotam yachad techelet Mordechai.

Teshuatam hayita lanetzach, v’tikvatam b’chol dor vador.Baruch Mordechai haYehudi

and here’s what they mean:

The rose of Jacob was cheerful and joyous when they saw together the royal blue of Mordechai’s [robe].

You have been their everlasting redemption, and their hope in every generation. Blessed is Mordechai the Jew

* * *

Finally, here are the words for U’Mordechai Yatza:

U Mordechai yatza mi’lifnay hamelech bi’levush malchut, v’ateret zahav.

U Mordechai yatza mi’lifnay hamelech v’haihr Shushan tzahlah v’sameichah.

La Yehudim hayeta orah, v’simcha, orah, v’simcha, v’sasson vi’ykar

and here’s what they mean:

And Mordechai went out from the King in royal clothes, and a golden crown.

And Mordechai went out from the King and the city of Shushan was cheerful and glad.

And for the Jews there was light, and gladness, light, and gladness, and joy and honor.

(sources:  Aish.com – Purim songs, Hebrewsongs.com, Megillas Esther)

La Yehudim Hayesa Orah

I love this tune, and the lyrics, talk about uplifting!  The text is taken from the Book of Esther (also known as Megilas Esther), chapter 8, verse 16.  This is the second half of U’Mordechai Yatza, if you recall back to the previous video.  This is also a line which I say every week during havdala, so this is actually one song that I totally know the words to.  Score!

Here are the words:

La Yehudim Hayesa Orah, v’simcha, v’sasson vi’ykar

Here’s what they mean:

And for the Jews there was light, and gladness, and joy and honor.

(source:  Aish.com – Purim Songs)

If you would like to listen to some more great Purim Songs, here’s a page from Aish.com, and here’s one from Chabad.org.  Those sites are both great resources for all things Purim.

Purim Sameach!   A Freilichen Purim!  Happy Purim, everyone!

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8 thoughts on “Songs of Purim

  1. That was fun! I saw this post earlier but had to wait until I was NOT in a coffee shop to listen. You’re doing a service! I’m the same way with the words . . . I always know the first few lines and then it gets pretty sad from there.

    1. Thanks – it was fun to do! Now I’m giggling as I’m thinking of an unsuspecting coffee shop being filled with the sounds of Purim spirit. Heehee. Though I applaud your restraint and consideration for the patrons of the coffee shops, of course. :)

  2. We took our son to a Purim carnival last week. He dressed up as Superman and it was a lot of fun. But there were two things missing: Music and graggers. I can do without the graggers, but I think music would have been a nice touch. We ended up coming home with a brand new goldfish!

    1. When I was looking for music on Youtube, I had a hard time finding music. Maybe that’s a service that needs to be done for the world – a compilation CD of Purim songs. Enjoy the goldfish!

  3. One of my kids had the same issue with King Achashverosh. I think it’s tricky when there is good with the bad. KA was nice to Esther, and he didn’t kill all the Yidden, right? But, we wouldn’t really want LM to emulate him. A little-kid-friend-of-the-family had the same confusion with Eisav. He was so nice to his father…and that’s a big mitzva. She called him “the mean tzaddik.” I love that!

  4. Gad Elbaz is a whole phenomenon. He’s from a very frum family where many of the men are Mizrachi-style chazzanim. He was singing on stage from a very young age. At a certain point, he started singing crossover Israeli music – rock songs or even hip-hop with a strong Mizrachi sensibility. The lyrics sometimes are directly religious sometimes, and other times less obviously so. As a result, his songs are popular even among non-observant and non-Jewish Israelis. At one point, he created a stir because he would appear in Israel but (I think) was not only dressed with a yarmulke and tzitzis, but asked that the audience sit/stand with a separation between the men and women. Probably his best-known songs are his rendition of “Hashem Melech,” and “Halayla Zeh Hazeman.”

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