Yisroel Besser: Abie’s Legacy Song


don’t know other composers who can take words and say pshat in them with the tune like Abie can.  One song in which I feel Abie really pulled back a curtain on what was happening, at least for me, is “Kol Berama” [Dveykus 2]. We’ve heard so many tunes to the account of how Rochel mevakah al banehah, but I don’t know if anyone conveyed the pain, the desperate longing, the power of a mother’s love, the way he did in that song. Rochel, Rochel…you can hear all of it, the midrashim and Chazals about Rochel’s dreams and hopes and yearning. “Mamme Rochel” [Journeys 4] came later, and is probably more well-known, but the vort had already been said decades earlier.

Another one is “Ani MaAmin B’emunah Sheleimah ShehaBorei Yisborach Shemo” [Dveykus 4], because he took one of the Rambam’s Thirteen Ikarim — not your conventional source for lyrics — and found a way to articulate in song just how deeply we feel it.

—Yisroel Besser

Still on Fire

Kol BeRamah
Abie Rotenberg