Jewish · music · slice of life


Our nighttime routine with Isabelle has been the same for awhile now.

Brush teeth.


Story Time.

Lights Out.

I don’t know if it was because she was trying to delay bedtime or because she loves my voice, but Isabelle has been requesting a song before I leave her room for the past two weeks.  I tried singing D’ror Yikra, which is a song that used to lull her to sleep as a baby.  She wasn’t thrilled with it.  So, I defaulted to HaMalach HaGoel, a Hebrew Lullaby I learned when she was two years-old.  The Maccabeats sing it and — since she LOVES the Maccabeats — she loves this song.  Last week, all I sung, every night, was HaMalach HaGoel.

This past Sunday afternoon, we attended a William Close and the Earth Harp Collective concert.  They performed “Erev Shel Shoshanim,” which is the song I walked down the aisle to on my wedding day.  (It’s like the “Here Comes the Bride” of the Jewish world.)  Hearing it performed live made me nostalgic so I offered that up to Isabelle as an alternative to HaMalach HaGoel on Sunday night.  She’s chosen it instead of HaMalach HaGoel nearly every night since then… including tonight.

Tonight I asked her “Do you want me to sing ‘HaMalach HaGoel’ or ‘Erev Shel Shoshanim’ before I tuck you in?”  It took her awhile to decide since she wanted BOTH.  (Mommy was too tired and still has too hoarse of a voice from being sick to attempt to sing both!)  She eventually picked “Erev Shel Shoshanim.” Once she got herself completely cozy under her blanket with her dolly under her arm, she told me “you can sing now.”

And sing I did.  I rubbed her back gently.  I tucked her wet curls behind her ear.  I watched her eyelids flutter closed, though she kept trying to open them in an effort to fight sleep.   My breath caught.   There I was singing the song I hope she’ll walk down the aisle to one day — many years from now — when she marries.  Was this the right song to sing?  I mean, I want to pass down songs from our tradition to her at bedtime, but maybe this wasn’t the right lullaby.

When I finished, I kissed her smooth cheek and said, “I love you. Good night.  Have pleasant dreams.”

“Good night, Mommy.  I love you, too.”

And with that, I closed her door and she went to sleep.

I walked out of her room and stopped questioning myself.  Any song that lulls my child to sleep and shares the music of the Jewish tradition with her is a perfectly fine choice.

For your listening enjoyment:

Feel free to let me know which one you prefer!

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20 thoughts on “Lullaby

  1. So first, thank you for sharing the links. BOTH songs are beautiful and I suspect that is why your little one could not decide. I suspect there is something long standing and wonderful about the rhythm and flow of our voices when we sing (or tell stories) that makes it a centuries old tradition in any culture. My vocal skills would stop a clock (analog) yet my kids, when they were little, would love my renditions and versions of songs as we drove down the road. These days, my little great nieces, who see me as a bit of a Bubba, love my stories. They ask for them and beg for them. I save them for bedtime because while I am not a great story teller, the rhythm and flow of my voice still seems to have magic.

  2. Sweet, sweet post! I always sang to my children after storytime, too. It is so relaxing and such a special time. Loved hearing about your thoughts. I’ll have to come back to listen to the music; my puppy is asleep and I don’t want her to wake up!

  3. Oh my gosh, what a beautiful moment. Your description was just perfect and what a great snapshot in time to capture through writing. You’ll always go back to this one.

  4. Why do we so question our choices as parents? I am not saying we shouldn’t reflect on parenting decisions, but often we second guess ourselves. Is it wasted energy? I wonder. I think you get to the heart of it when you realize that anything that soothes her to the point she can sleep while sharing something that has meaning to you has to be a win.

  5. Beautiful! Very touching to think as you were singing how fast those years will go by until her wedding day. I believe that you have bestowed a special blessing upon her and her future groom. It’s never too early to start praying this over your child for God to be with this child and the child’s future spouse. Thank you for the music, too. I was wondering about both songs.

    P.S. I also wanted to thank you for commenting on one of my students’ blogs. He was thrilled when I told him how special it was to get a comment from you.
    D 🙂

  6. Oh, I love this slice, as my years of singing lullabies have been put on hold until grandchildren arrive. You describe the moment so beautifully!

  7. Good choice…sing the songs she loves now because…as you know when it’s her day, the day she walks down the aisle it will be her choice for what feels right for her and even f it’s not your choice, it’s going to be hers to make…which I’m sure you’ll agree it’s as it should be 🙂

  8. I love that you are introducing the special songs to Isabelle, Stacey, so wonderful. Thanks for sharing this beautiful music with us, too. That second one is certainly a lullaby to love.

  9. What a sweet way to end the day. I love that you are singing traditional songs that will grow more meaningful to her as the years go by. Both are beautiful. I am sure it was a difficult choice for her.

  10. Stacey, I love this slice so much! I am reminded of nights singing my little guy to sleep, so thank you for bringing a memory. Your song selections are beautiful and meaningful to you and will be meaningful to your daughter as well. I have sang the Shehecheyanu with my daughter…it is so simple and we both love the ah, ah, ah,….amen. I think you have many duets in your future!

  11. Thank you for sharing the songs, Stacey. They are beautiful and this is a lovely tradition to share with Isabelle. She is lucky to receive such special love.

  12. Oh Stacey, those songs are so beautiful!! What a beautiful tradition…singing these songs to her. I have to say, reading these posts about you mothering Isabelle…I envy you. You write about being a mother in such a beautiful way, it’s amazing!! Thank you for sharing!!

  13. This is lovely, Stacey. When my boys were little, we had at least 5 songs that I sang every night for years. My nieces also loved hearing the songs when we were all together. Kelly even asked me to sing them one night on a camping trip when she was a teenager! Isabelle will remember these songs for the rest of her life.

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