Y’varech’cha (Blessing for children), for treble voices (2 part) and piano (1998) | 3.5′

Gerald Cohen, Natasha Hirschhorn, Benjie-Ellen Schiller, Isaac Sonett-Assor, with Alexandra Joan, piano

About

Y’varech’cha

The text of Y’varech’cha really consists of two parts: the first three lines, from the book of Numbers (Bamidbar), is known as the Priestly Blessing, and is perhaps the earliest extant blessing we have in Jewish texts. It is a part of  all Jewish and Christian liturgies. The last two lines are additional blessings traditionally said by parents to their children at the beginning of the Sabbath.

The core melody of Y’varech’cha, with the mood of a lullaby, was originally written in 1995 on the joyous occasion of the birth of our child, Cass. I first composed it in a version for two-part chorus (or solo duet) and piano, and have since made many different arrangements, with accompaniments available for an obbligato instrument with piano, for string quartet and orchestra, as well as various purely instrumental arrangements. I wrote a new version for SATB chorus and piano in 2020.

In addition to its use for the Sabbath, the piece is appropriate for any setting of blessing, including interfaith services.

Score

Text and Translation

Y’varech’cha Adonai v’yishm’recha,
Ya-eir Adonai panav eilecha vichuneka,
Yisa Adonai panav eilecha v’yaseim l’cha shalom.

Y’sim’cha Elohim k’Efrayim v’chiM’nashe,
Y’simeich Elohim k’Sara, Rivka, Racheil, v’Leia.

May the Lord bless you and guard you,
May the Lord cause the light of His face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you,
May the Lord lift up His face to you, and grant you peace.

May God give you the blessings of Ephraim and Menasheh,
May God give you the blessings of Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah.

Arrangements

Solo voice with piano, or with obbligato instrument and piano (1998)
SATB with piano (2020), or with orchestra
2 clarinets and piano as part of Sea of Reeds (2009)
Piano solo as part of Sea of Reeds (2020)

Listen/Watch

 Y’varech’cha, for vocal duet and piano; Ilana Davidson soprano; Gerald Cohen, baritone; Linda Hall, piano
Y’varech’cha, from “Sea of Reeds”, for two clarinets and piano (Grneta Ensemble)
“Y’varech’cha” from Sea of Reeds, for solo piano; Alexandra Joan, piano

Performances

Like “Adonai Ro’i,” this has been sung as a solo by cantors for many years at services and life cycle events.