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אֶחָד | One, a song by Harry Nilsson (1967)

https://opensiddur.org/?p=36831 אֶחָד | One, a song by Harry Nilsson (1967) 2021-04-19 14:43:34 A Hebrew translation of the lyrics to Harry Nilsson's "One" (1967) as sung by Aimee Mann (1995) Text the Open Siddur Project Aharon N. Varady (translation) Aharon N. Varady (translation) Harry Nilsson https://opensiddur.org/copyright-policy/ Aharon N. Varady (translation) https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/107 Sefirat ha'Omer 20th century C.E. זמירות zemirot Know Before Whom You Stand פיוטים piyyutim 58th century A.M. Prayers as poems English vernacular prayer שכינה Shekhinah loneliness love your fellow as yourself non-dual theology love-sickness counting songs
Here, deep in the sefirat haOmer, I’ve been thinking a lot about how Harry Nilsson’s song “One” and how it is such a profound take on the non-dual yet bifurcated transcendent/immanent (YHVH/Shekhinah) conception of divinity, and the ḳabbalistic midrash (originating with Shir haShirim Rabbah 5.2) of the Divine creating their twin/the Cosmos/Adam haQadmon out of the desperation of loneliness/longing, and how this all might relate to the legend of the Shekhinah’s attempt to take flight from the World before the Dor haMabul in 3 Enoch.

Translation (Hebrew) Source (English)
אחד
One
‏אֶחָד הוּא הַמִּסְפָּר הַבּוֹדֵד בְּיוֹתֵר
שֶׁתַּעֲשֶׂה אֵי פַּעַם.‏
שְׁתַּיִם יָכוֹל לִהְיוֹת גָּרוּעַ כְּמוֹ אֶחָד.
זֶהוּ הַמִּסְפָּר הַבּוֹדֵד בְּיוֹתֵר מֵאָז הַמִּסְפָּר אֶחָד.
One is the loneliest number
That you’ll ever do
Two can be as bad as one
It’s the loneliest number since the number one
”לֹא“ הִיא הַחֲוָיָה הָעֲצוּבָה בְּיוֹתֵר
שֶׁתַּכִּירוּ אֵי פַּעַם.
כֵּן, זוֹ הַחֲוָיָה הָעֲצוּבָה בְּיוֹתֵר
שֶׁתַּכִּירוּ אֵי פַּעַם.
No is the saddest experience
You’ll ever know
Yes, it’s the saddest experience
You’ll ever know
מִכֵּיוָן שֶׁאֶחָד הוּא הַמִּסְפָּר הַבּוֹדֵד בְּיוֹתֵר
שֶׁתַּעֲשׂוּ אֵי פַּעַם
אֶחָד הוּא הַמִּסְפָּר הַבּוֹדֵד בְּיוֹתֵר
שֶׁתַּכִּירוּ אֵי פַּעַם.
Because one is the loneliest number
That’ll you’ll ever do
One is the loneliest number
That you’ll ever know
זֶה פָּשׁוּט כְּבָר לֹא טוֹב
מֵאָז שֶׁעָזַבְתְּ.[1] אוֹ שֶׁנֶּעְלַמְתְּ 
עַכְשָׁו אֲנִי מְבַלֶּה אֶת זְמַנִּי
רַק בִּכְתִיבַת חֲרוּזִים
מִִימֵי קֶדֶם.
It’s just no good anymore
Since you went away
Now I spend my time
Just making rhymes
Of yesterday
מִכֵּיוָן שֶׁאֶחָד הוּא הַמִּסְפָּר הַבּוֹדֵד בְּיוֹתֵר
שֶׁתַּעֲשׂוּ אֵי פַּעַם
אֶחָד הוּא הַמִּסְפָּר הַבּוֹדֵד בְּיוֹתֵר
שֶׁתַּכִּירוּ אֵי פַּעַם.
Because one is the loneliest number
That you’ll ever do
One is the loneliest number
That you’ll ever know
אֶחָד הוּא הַמִּסְפָּר הַבּוֹדֵד בְּיוֹתֵר.
אֶחָד הוּא הַמִּסְפָּר הַבּוֹדֵד בְּיוֹתֵר.
אֶחָד הוּא הַמִּסְפָּר הַבּוֹדֵד בְּיוֹתֵר
שֶׁתַּעֲשֶׂה אֵי פַּעַם.
One is the loneliest number
One is the loneliest number
One is the loneliest number
That you’ll ever do
אֶחָד הוּא הַמִּסְפָּר הַבּוֹדֵד בְּיוֹתֵר,
כׇּל כָּךְ הַרְבֵּה יוֹתֵר גָּרוּעַ מִשְׁתַּיִם.
אֶחָד הוּא מִסְפָּר חֶלְקֵי שְׁתַּיִם.
(זֶה קַל.)
One is the loneliest number
Much much worse than two
One is a number divided by two
(That’s easy)
שְׁתַּיִם חֶלְקֵי אֶחָד מְיֹעָד
לִתְלוֹת אֶת הַפַּרְגּוֹד.
וְאָז דָּבָר אֶחָד בָּטוּחַ:
בְּלִי־מָֽה שֶׁיַּחֲזִיק אוֹתָם בְּיַחַד׃
Two divided by one is decided
To bring down the curtain
Then one thing’s for certain
There’s nothing to keep them together

These are the lyrics to “One” by Harry Edward Nilsson (from his 1968 album Aerial Ballet), according to the nusaḥ sung by Aimee Mann on the compilation For the Love of Harry: Everybody Sings Nilsson (1995). The Hebrew translation is my own. (Please offer any obvious corrections — thank you!) My hope in translating this song is to include it (among one or two others: “Invisible Sun” by the Police, and “Blue Sky” by the Allman Brothers) in a weekday siddur I am preparing. Since the lyrics to “One” will be under copyright until approximately 2064, by publishing this translation, I am expressing my Fair Use right under copyright law for the non-commercial and transformative use of the original work for religious practice. –Aharon Varady

Source(s)

 

Notes

Notes
1 אוֹ שֶׁנֶּעְלַמְתְּ

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