Lomir Ale Zingen A Zemerl

Lomir Ale Zingen a Zemerl                         Let’s All Sing a Shabbes Song   traditional

I love Shabbat zmires, the long, long songs for the Shabbat table. They’re printed in every traditional prayer book and in the “benchers” that include the Grace after meals. Verse after verse about how to celebrate. Sing! Drink! Eat great food! The songs are in Hebrew, and here the child says, “Tell me, Papa, what does it mean?” That depends, of course.

Lomir ale zingen, lomir ale zingen              Let’s all sing

A zemerl, a zemerl                                      A little Shabbes song

Lekhem iz broyt, boser vedogim                 Lekhem is bread, boser vedogim

Vekhol mata-amim                                     Vekhol mata-amim

Zog zhe mir, tatenyu, vos iz lekhem?           Tell me, dear Papa, what is lekhem?

Bay di groyse negidim                                  For the great wealthy people

Iz lekhem a vaysinke bulkele                        Lekhem is a lovely little white roll

Ober bay undz kabtsonim, oy, dalfonim        But for us paupers, oy, down-and-outs

Iz lekhem a dare skorinke                             Lekhem is a  tiny crust of bread


Zog zhe mir, tatenyu, vos iz boser?                Tell me, dear Papa, what is boser?

Bay di groyse negidim                                      For the rich

Iz boser a gebrotene katshkele                        Boser is a roast duck

Ober bay undz kabtsonim, oy, dalfonim           But for us poor folks

Iz boser an ayngedarte kishkele                     Boser is a scrawny bit of kishke

(stuffed derma — it sort of *tastes* of meat.)


Zog she mir, tatenyu, vos iz dogim?                   Tell me, dear Papa,  what is dogim?

Bay di groyse negidim                                         For the rich

Iz dogim a frish-tsapldik hekhtele                      Dogim is a pike so fresh it’s still flopping

Ober bay undz kabtsonim, oy, dalfonim              But for us poor folks

Iz dogim a farfoylter heringl                                Dogim is a spoiled little herring


Zog zhe mir, tatenyu, vos iz matamim?                    Tell me, Papa dear, what is matamim?

Bay di groyse negidim                                               For the rich

Iz matamim a geshmaker tsimes                               Matamim is a tasty tsimmes 

(sweet stew of carrots, dried fruit, maybe some beef…)

Ober bay undz kabtsonim, oy, dalfonim                     But for us poor folks

Iz matamim – gehakte tsores                                     Matamim is — chopped troubles!