Awake Standing Guard: A Tune for the End of Sukkot

This past year I got hocked on this earworm by the Shira Choir. I dare you to listen to Im HaShem LoYivneh Bayit without singing it all week.

The lyrics come from two verse in Psalms. There we read:

אם-השם, לא-יבנה בית–    שוא עמלו בוניו בו
אם-השם לא-ישמור-עיר,    שוא שקד שומר

 הנה לא-ינום, ולא יישן–    שומר, ישראל
If the Lord did not build the house, they labor in vain that they build it
If the Lord did not keep the city, the watchman are awake in vain (Psalm 127:1)
Behold, God the protector of Israel does not rest or sleep  (Pslam 121:4)

Some say both these Psalms in their liturgy from Sukkot to Passover. I have been thinking about this recently with the rise of a third Intifada in Israel, Jews are experiencing a resurgence of Antisemitism in Europe, and the persistence of gun violence in America. These situations and this song both ask us to think about the need for a Divine Protector. To what do all of our efforts to build a safe environment for our children amount?

Since we have been blessed with Libi in our lives, I cannot utter her name without thinking about the current situation in Israel. As often Adina and sometimes I  get up in the middle of the night to deal with our children I can relate to God’s fatigue in God’s role as a protector who does not rest or sleep. At this time of the year as we say goodbye to the Sukkah and retract to the safety our homes for the winter I hope that we do not forget the truly precarious nature of our existence. I would love to take comfort that God is a protector and that all of our efforts are not in vain, but until that time we need to work for peace and safety and stay ever vigilant. At the least I have shared with you a nice tune to keep in your head as you are awake standing guard.

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1 Response to “Awake Standing Guard: A Tune for the End of Sukkot”


  1. 1 Nelson Block October 4, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    A sheinem Dank! With the news of the Henkins and the stabbing, I needed some sameyach for the chag.


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