Mi Chamocha, Tzur Ysrael, Adonai

Vocal Quartet: Thesele Kemane, Beverley Chiat, Katherine Moon, Leanne Jacobson & Albert Combrink (Piano)
(Jewish Traditional Arranged by Albert Combrink, Sung in Hebrew)

Filmed Live during the “Yom Kippur” service at Temple Israel Reform Synagogue, Greenpoint, Cape Town, South Africa, September 2013


Mi Chamocha 00:10
Tzur Ysrael 01:20
Adonai S’ fa tai tiftach 02:20

Mi Chamocha (Text in Hebrew)

Mi chamocha, ba’elim, Adonai?
Mi kamocha, nedar bakodesh, nora tehilot, osei feleh?

Shira chadasha shib’chu ge’ulim le’shimcha al s’fat hayam;
Yachad kulam hodu ve’himlichu ve’amru:
“Adonai yimloch le’olam va’ed.”

Mi Chamocha (Text in English)

Who is like you, Adonai, among other gods?
Who is like you, glorious in holiness,
awesome in praises, doing miracles?

With a new song,
the ones You rescued praised Your name at the sea shore.
All of them in unison gave thanks
and praised Your rule, and said:
“Adonai will reign for ever and ever.”

Mi Chamocha (Brief Discription)

The Song of the Sea (Shirat HaYam, also known as Az Yashir Moshe) is a poem that appears in the Book of Exodus of the Hebrew Bible, at Exodus 15:1-18. It is followed in verses 20 and 21 by a much shorter song sung by Miriam and the other women. The Song of the Sea was reputedly sung by the Israelites after they crossed the Sea of Reeds in safety, and celebrates the destruction of the Egyptian army during the crossing, and looks forward to their future conquest of Canaan.

Micha Mocha is an extract from this poem, and is included in Jewish prayer books, and recited daily in the morning shacharit services. The poem also comprises the first ode or hymn of the Eastern Orthodox canon, where it is known as the Song or Ode of Moses.It is also used in the Roman Catholic liturgy, where it is sometimes known as the “Song of Moses” (not to be confused with the Song of Moses in Deuteronomy).

Tzur Ysrael (Text in Hebrew)

Tzur Yisrael, kuma be’ezrat Yisrael,
U’f’deh chinumecha Yehudah ve’Yisrael.
Go’aleinu, Adonai tzeva’ot shemo, kadosh Yisrael.

Baruch ata Adonai, ga’al Yisrael.

Tzur Ysrael (Text in English)

Rock of Israel, rise up to help Israel,
and set free Judah and Israel, as you have

Our Redeemer, “Ruler of the Forces” is God’s name,
the Holy One of Israel.

Blessed are You, Adonai, who saved Israel.

Tzur Ysrael (Brief Description)

In Psalm 19:15 of the Old Testament of the Bible, God is referred to as the “Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”In religious terms, the “Rock” means God, who protects the Jewish people and is the center of their faith, which defines their identity and consciousness. The term indicates the trust and faith of people in God, who is immutable. However, secular Zionists have interpreted this term in a non-religious way to mean the cultural and historical heritage that has preserved Jewish community and identity over centuries. Both meanings have influenced the movement for the return of Jews to the Holy Land and the creation of the Jewish state of Israel.

A phrase beginning “Rock of Israel” is part of the morning prayers in some versions of the prayerbook, where it is recited immediately before the Shemonah Esrei prayer.

Adonai (Lyrics in Hebrew)

Adonai, s’fatai tiftach,
ufi yagid t’hilatecha.

Adonai (Lyrics in English)

Adonai, open up my lips,
that my mouth may declare Your praise.

Adonai (Brief Description)

This line is chanted as preparation for the Amidah a set of blessings. It is noticeable that the text requires the mouth and lips to work particularly hard to pronounce the alliterated F’s and T’s clearly. A simple prayer, but filled with immense poetic meaning, beauty and sincerity.