Ma'oz Tzur (Rock of Ages)
Ma'oz tzur yeshu'ati
Lecha na'eh leshabeakh.
Tikon beit tefilati
Vesham todah nezaveakh.
Le'et tachin matbeakh
Az 'egmor beshir mizmor
Mighty rock of my salvation,
To praise You is a delight.
Restore my House of Prayer and there
We shall offer thanks that night.
When You have prepared us for
The defeat of the blasphemer,
Then I shall long to complete with song
The dedication of Your altar.
A Chanukah song, since I've posted several Christmas carols. The Hebrew lyrics are traditional; the English above is my modified version of several different translations in an attempt to keep something of the rhythm and rhyme of the original. The "Ma'oz Tzur" version that most Americans learn in Hebrew school was written by Marcus Jastrow and Gustav Gottheil with the English title "Rock of Ages":
Rock of Ages, let our song
Praise Thy saving power.
Thou, amidst the raging foes
Wast our sheltering tower.
Furious they assailed us
But Thine arm availed us,
And Thy Word broke their sword
When our own strength failed us.
The tune used by Jastrow and Gottheil (who both died in 1903) was originally a German folk song. There is more information about Chanukah songs and some music samples at Chazzanut Online.
Just a quick update as this is my last night at my in-laws and I needed to be sociable as well as I could with no voice -- how come any time I do anything that takes more than two hours, even if I sleep in the car, I get laryngitis all over again? We spent a lovely day at Harrisburg's Whitaker Center, which has a science museum and an IMAX among other things. Last time we were there, they had a dinosaur exhibit, which has since toured elsewhere and been replaced by the Grossology exhibit that was at the Maryland Science Center during older son's birthday a few years ago -- we had a party there. It is just as gross as ever -- the belching machine, fart designer, interactive runny nose display, urine game and skin lesion climbing wall are topped only by the "name that smell" exhibit which includes sniff-and-identify examples of bacteria from the human armpit, foot, anus, mouth, etc. Needless to say this is enormously popular with boys everywhere. *g* (Incidentally, the Harrisburg cows are gone. Woe!)
And here is the belching machine, in which kids pump soda into the guy's mouth and down into his stomach until he lets out a loud burp! Next to this you can see the Urine The Game, where you get to be a kidney and you have to sort the blood cells and sugars from the salts and urea, sending the good stuff back into the bloodstream and the bad stuff to the bladder.
Because I did not have h. pylori, the bacterium that causes many ulcers, my family decided that I needed one. Fortunately he is stuffed and cuddly. *g*
We also went through the more serious human body exhibit upstairs (artificial hearts and limbs, surgical displays, etc.), the motion and physical laws exhibit on the bottom floor and the local ecology exhibit in the middle before heading to the theater, which had 30 people in line more than an hour before the film started so we had to take turns holding spots. Snape looks fantastic five stories high and I loved getting to see all the detail in the backgrounds of the crowd scenes -- you could really see Fred and Angelina kissing, how many suggestive looks Karkaroff shot Snape, Lucius' face while Voldemort and Harry were dueling, etc. Joy! We took the long way home on the back roads to look at the more outrageous holiday light displays around here; you can almost draw a line between Catholic Sharpsburg and Lutheran Hanover by the sudden disappearance of big glowing Virgin Marys, and some neighborhoods seem to have a White Lights Only regulation while others appear to be competitions for who can put up the most inflatable snowmen, Santas, reindeer, etc. You can tell the Mennonite homes by the single stars over the doorways.
This evening we watched the New England/Jets game and the "Vegan Vixens" segment of some L.A. TV station's coverage of vegan food there, where my brother in law's restaurant finished first (just ahead of the restaurant he left to open it, a point of great pride -- I find it very amusing that I have eaten in several of the best-known vegetarian places in greater Los Angeles). Older son had gotten The Simpsons version of Clue as a gift but I begged off playing so I could attempt to make a dent in answering mail and comments and stuff, but I fear a dent is all I made -- apologies, and it won't get better till Thursday at least because Tuesday we are going to Boyd's Bears and stuff on the way home to get younger son's stitches out and Wednesday we are driving to a different part of Pennsylvania, to the Brandywine Valley, to go to the art and natural history museums; apaulled has a day off he needs to use during 2005 so it seemed a great time to do it.
And hah, my Astrocenter.com horoscope for Tuesday: Today you may need to get into contact with a lot of people, but you might find the process frustrating. They might not be home, messages might not be delivered, or your communications equipment might not work properly. Unless it's absolutely urgent, it might be more appropriate to wait until tomorrow to try to reach them. Otherwise you could work yourself into a state of mind too stressed out for words.