Random Musing Before Shabbat–B’ha’alot’kha 5779–Contrafacta Torah

I thought it was past time for a little musical levity (hey, there’s a sort of Jewish joke in that, too.) So here are some ditties I’ve written based on things from this week’s parasha, B’ha’alot’kha. By strict definition, these are contrafacta –  musical melodies to which new or different lyrics have been added. (To be parody, technically they would have to somehow make fun of, or refer to the song’s original lyrics and musical combination.)

(To the tune of “Home On the Range”)

Oh G”d has a home, as through Sinai we roam,
When G”d’s presence descends, there we stay
When spirit lifts high, to that place we say bye,
Yet our skies remain cloudy each day

Clouds, G”d’s semaphore
When to move, to stay put, and what’s more
Where often is heard, a discouraging word
As G”d’s miracles we do ignore.

At night time the cloud would appear to the crowd
As a fire blazing over the tent
And when morning came, ‘twas no longer a flame
But a cloud that would G”d represent

Clouds, G”d’s semaphore
When to move, to stay put, and what’s more
When sometimes G”d heard a discouraging word
G”d would often then give us what for

For as long as the cloud the Mishkan would enshroud
We would stay camped in that very spot
When the cloud went away whether night time or day
Moving on would again be our lot.

Clouds, clouds, in control
To move out, to encamp, slow our roll
With a message writ large, we knew G”d was in charge
We G”ds name in our prayers did extol.

For a month, week, or day, in one place we might stay
Our movement the cloud did dictate
G”d was sieving us out, of that there is no doubt
’Tis the price when G”d’s will you negate.

Home, home, it’s so strange
It’s so near, yet so far far away
Though it might seem absurd, we will stay undeterred
Though our skies remain cloudy each day.


(To the tune of “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over” from “Carousel”)

Music by Richard Rodgers, original lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II


Meat is coming out your nostrils
I told you be careful what you wish
You grew weary of the manna and you whined and said “We wanna
eat some meat, perhaps some quail, a tasty dish”

Meat is coming out your nostrils
Perhaps now a lesson will be learned
When Your G”d gives you directions you rebut with insurrections
Thus Your G”d has every right to be concerned.
Because it’s meat – what a treat!
Stuff yourselves with meat! Meat! Meat!


(To the tune of the Sea Chanty “Blow the man Down”)

Eldad and Medad were two Israelite guys
Oy, vey! Look what they did!
Ecstatically throughout the camp prophesied
Someone tell Moshe, look what they did

But Moses’ response came as quite a surprise
Oy, vey! Look what they did!
Eldad and Medad have the spirit I prize
Spirit I wish was in every Yid!


(To the tune of “A Little Gossip” from”Man of La Mancha”)

Music by Mitch Leigh, original lyrics by Joe Darion

AHARON:A little gossip, a little chat
MIRIAM: A little idle talk of this and that
BOTH: Just brother-sister talk about our bro
A person’s gotta vent – can’t keep it in, y’know

AHARON: “Dearest Miriam what do you think of that woman?
Why would Moshe go and wed a Cushite dame?”
MIRIAM: ”My dear Aharon it’s a shanda, one I do not understand-a,
By his marriage he has brought our family shame!”


AHARON:A little gossip, a little chat
MIRIAM: A little idle talk of this and that
BOTH: Just brother-sister talk about our bro
A person’s gotta vent – can’t keep it in, y’know

MIRIAM: Brother Moshe seems to think he’s someone special
AHARON: How he lords it over us is just not fair
BOTH: I think the time has come to tell that G”d spoke through us two as well
Our rightful place as leaders we declare!

G”D: You little gossips, you little brats
It’s time for us to speak of tit for tats
Your brother Moshe is the one I chose
Your have invoked My wrath, your faults you do expose

MIRIAM: Oh my arm with snow white scales it now is covered
Though I notice too that Aharon is unharmed
MOSHE: I cry out to You  “El na r’fana lah”
G”D: She must pay the price, for seven days disarmed.

G”D: You should not gossip, you should not chat
Of other people, saying this and that
So treat all persons as yourself you’d treat
And you might reap rewards that would be hard to beat!


(To the tune of “They Call the Wind Maria” from “Paint Your Wagon”)

Music by Frederick Loewe, original lyrics by Alan J. Lerner

In Sinai land they’ve got a name
For adults and old-timers
Who moan and gripe the whole day long
They call those Israelites whiners!

It’s sad but true most of the time
These people cause their own ache
They oft forget the miracles
That G”d has done for their sake

They’re whiners, they’re whiners!
They call those Israelites whiners!


(To the tune of “Seventy-Six Trombones” from “The Music Man”)

Music and original lyrics by Meredith Wilson

Both trumpets in long blasts call assembly
But just one horn blown means only chiefs
Blowing short blasts says that first the eastern tribes shall move
With the next short blasts shall come the south

All Aharon’s sons shall become the trumpeters
Now and for all generations to come
In times of war short blasts will remind G”d of the pact
And on chagim, they’ll call us all to G”d.

When you make the silver trumpets make them hammered work
Make sure they’re loud, heard by the crowd, any time of day

You shall blow them on all holidays and on the new moon,
Each trumpet tune, showing the folks the way

On the twentieth day, the second month, the second year
Since the Pharoah let Israel go, then the cloud did rise
To signify the time was nigh to head to Paran from Sinai
Years from now only will some reach the prize.

Six-hundred-thirteen that’s what the rabbis say
Are the number of mitzvot found in Torah
Though at Sinai we just heard ten, we will here them once again
Somewhat differently in D’varim
Lots of things happen while we are wand’ring round
Winnowing faithless out as we trod
While we wander the wilderness, and our mighty trumpets sound
We’ll be marching, all our faith in G”d.

[All contrafacta lyrics ©2019 by Adrian A. Durlester]

Hope you enjoyed this little musical interlude.

Shabbat Shalom,

Adrian
©2019 by Adrian A. Durlester

Other musings on this parasha:

B’ha’alot’kha 5777 – Of Singin, G”d, and Bathrooms
B’ha’alot’kha 5775 – Between the Nuns
B’ha’alot’kha 5774 – Zechariah’s Woo-Woo and Letting Go
B’ha’alot’kha 5773-Still Ecstatic After All These Years
B’ha’alot’kha 5771 – Mandatory Retirement
B’ha’alot’kha 5770 – Ecstasy (Redux 5760)
B’ha’alot’kha 5766 – Vay’hi Binsoa – Movin’ Out, Movin’ On
B’ha’alot’cha 5765-Unintended Results?
Beha’alotekha 5762 – Redux 5759 – The Kiss of Moshe
Beha’alotekha 5760-Ecstasy

About migdalorguy

Jewish Educator & Musician, Technology Nerd and all around nice Renaissance guy
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