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The “Dona Nobis Pacem” blues from Leonard Bernstein’s MASS (1971), original Hebrew translation by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

https://opensiddur.org/?p=53062 The "Dona Nobis Pacem" blues from Leonard Bernstein's MASS (1971), original Hebrew translation by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer 2023-10-12 20:55:58 An original Hebrew translation of the blues-rock portion of the <em>Agnus Dei</em> movement from Leonard Bernstein's MASS (note: always spelled with ALL CAPS), where the crowd of disaffected and disillusioned young parishioners interrupts the offertory to demand peace now, and hold God to account for not giving it to us. It's unsurprising that for a composer as proudly and openly Jewish as Bernstein that even his setting of the Tridentine Mass has major "shaking your fist at God" energy. Not gonna lie, I was listening to this on a plane out of Jerusalem as the war was starting, and I started to tear up. I immediately started writing this translation and finished it up in the process of about an hour while stuck somewhere a few thousand feet above Greenland. It's amazing and moving and tragic and enraging and a little full of itself in exactly the right way to hit me in the heart. Text the Open Siddur Project Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) Leonard Bernstein Stephen Schwartz https://opensiddur.org/copyright-policy/ Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/107 Social Justice, Peace, and Liberty interfaith prayer human solidarity 20th century C.E. ecumenical prayers peace demonstrations 58th century A.M. Universal Peace
An original Hebrew translation of the blues-rock portion of the Agnus Dei movement from Leonard Bernstein’s MASS (note: always spelled with ALL CAPS), where the crowd of disaffected and disillusioned young parishioners interrupts the offertory to demand peace now, and hold God to account for not giving it to us. It’s unsurprising that for a composer as proudly and openly Jewish as Bernstein that even his setting of the Tridentine Mass has major “shaking your fist at God” energy. Not gonna lie, I was listening to this on a plane out of Jerusalem as the war was starting, and I started to tear up. I immediately started writing this translation and finished it up in the process of about an hour while stuck somewhere a few thousand feet above Greenland. It’s amazing and moving and tragic and enraging and a little full of itself in exactly the right way to hit me in the heart.

TABLE HELP

Source (Latin, English)Translation (Hebrew)
Chorus (repeated throughout):
Dona nobis / nobis pacem / pacem dona / dona nobis,
Nobis pacem / pacem dona / dona nobis / nobis pacem,
Dona nobis / dona nobis…
פזמון
עוֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם / בִּמְרוֹמֶךָ / תַּעֲשֵׂה שָׁ/לוֹם עֲלֵינוּ
עוֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם / בִּמְרוֹמֶךָ / תַּעֲשֵׂה שָׁ/לוֹם עֲלֵינוּ
עוֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם / עוֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם…
Verse 1:
We’re not down on our knees, we’re not praying.
We’re not asking you please we’re just saying:
Give us peace now and peace to hold on to.
And, God, give us some reason to want to!
Dona nobis, dona nobis…
חרוז א׳
לֹא נִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה אַפַּיִם אַרְצָה
לֹא נְבַקְּשָׁה־נָא אֶלָּא נִחְרָצָה
עֲשֵׂה שָׁלוֹם עַתָּה לְהַחְזִיק בּוֹ
וְתֵן טַעַם כִּי דַּי וּמַסְפִּיק בּוֹ!
עוֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם / עוֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם…
Verse 2:
We’ve got quarrels and qualms and such questions
Give us answers, not psalms and suggestions
Give us peace that we don’t keep on breaking
Give us something or we’ll just start taking!
Dona nobis, dona nobis…
חרוז ב׳
מָלֵא לִבִּי רִיב, סָפֵק, וְקֻשְׁיוֹת
בִּמְקוֹם מִזְמוֹרֵי הֶבֶל, תְּשׁוּבוֹת
עֲשֵׂה שָׁלוֹם שֶׁכְּלוּם לֹא יָפֵר בּוֹ
סַבְלָנוּת מִלִּבִּי תִּגָּמֵר בּוֹ!
עוֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם / עוֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם
Verse 3:
You worked six days and rested on Sunday
We can tear the whole mess down in one day
Give us peace now, and we don’t mean later
Don’t forget you were once our Creator!
Dona nobis, dona nobis…
חרוז ג׳
הִנְּךָ נַחְתָּ בְּיוֹם שַׁבַּת קֹדֶשׁ
אַךְ נִמְחֵהוּ כַּיֶּרַח רֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ
עֲשֵׂה שָׁלוֹם עַתָּה בְּיָמֵינוּ
זְכֹר, פַּעַם הָיִיתָ בּוֹרְאֵינוּ
עוֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם / עוֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם…
Verse 4:
We’re fed up with your heavenly silence
And we only get action with violence
So if we can’t have the world we desire
Lord, we’ll have to set this one on fire!
Dona nobis, dona nobis…
חרוז ד׳
מִקּוֹלְךָ הַדְּמָמָה לָנוּ נִמְאַס
רַק תִּפְעַל כִּי הַכֹּל מָלֵא חָמָס
אִם־תֹּסֵף לִמְנֹעַ עוֹלַם חֶסֶד
נִשְׂרְפָה לְעוֹלָם זֶה שֶׁל הֶפְסֵד
עוֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם / עוֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם…

The blues-rock portion from the Agnus Dei movement to Leonard Bernstein’s MASS, translated into Hebrew. Original lyrics by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Schwartz.

 


 

 

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