Lyrics & Listening Tips for the Playlist Raisins and Almonds (Three Yiddish Lullabies)

When Yiddish was the mamaloshen (“mother tongue”) of Jews of Eastern and Central Europe, Yiddish music brought great naches (“joy”) to millions of families. This playlist includes three well-known Yiddish songs, suitable for bedtime listening.

Listening Tips

Oyfn Pripetshik (In the Fireplace)

In this song can you hear the rabbi teaching young children to read?

Dona Dona

Can you sing along when the song goes “Dona dona…”? (Don’t fall asleep while you’re singing…)

Rozhinkes mit Mandlen (Raisins with Almonds)

This is a lullaby about a little white goat. What do you think the goat dreams about at night?

Song Lyrics

OYFN PRIPETSHIK (In the Fireplace)

Performed by Mandy Patinkin – Music and lyrics: M.M. Warshawsky

Oyfn pripetshik brent a fayerl (In the fireplace a fire burns)
Un in shtub iz heys (And in the house it’s warm)
Un der rebbe lernt kleyne kinderlekh dem alef-beys (And the rabbi teaches little children the alphabet)

Zet zhe, kinderlekh, gedenkt zhe, tavere (See, children, remember, dear ones)
Vos ir lernt do (What you learn here)
Zogt zhe nokh a mol un take nokh a mol (Repeat again and again)
Komets alef – o! (The first vowel – “o”)

Lernt, kinder, mit groys kheyshek (Learn, children, with great enthusiasm)
Azoy zog ikh aykh on (So I will instruct you)
Ver s'vet gikher fun aykh kenen ivre (Whoever learns Hebrew pronunciation faster)
Der bakumt a fon (Will receive a flag!)


Az ir vet, kinder, elter vern (When you grow older, children)
Vet ir aleyn farshteyn (You will understand for yourselves)
Vifl in di oysyes lign trern (How many tears lie in these letters)
Un vi fil geveyn (And how much lament)

Az ir vet, kinder, dem goles shlepn (When you’ll bear the exile, children)
Oysgemutshet zayn (And grow exhausted)
Zolt ir fun di oysyes koyekh shepn (You’ll draw strength from these letters)
Kukt in zey arayn! (Just look at them!)



Performed by Muriel Hirschmann and Juliet Hoarau – Music: Sholom Secunda – Lyrics: Aaron Zeitlin

Oyfn furl ligt a kelbl (On a wagon bound for market)
Ligt gebundn mit a shtrik (There’s a calf with a mournful eye) 
Hoykh in himl flit a foygl (High above him there’s a swallow)
Flit un dreyt zikh hin un t’srik (Winging swiftly through the sky) 

Lakht der vint in korn (How the winds are laughing)
Lakht un lakht un lakht (They laugh with all their might)
Lakht er op a tog a gantsn (Laugh and laugh the whole day through)
Un a halbe nakht (And half the summer night)
Dona dona…

Shrayt dos kelbl, zogt der poyer (“Stop complaining”, said the farmer)
Ver zhe heyst dikh zayn a kalb (“Who told you a calf to be?)
Volst gekentzu zayn a foygl (Why don’t you have wings to fly with)
Volst gekentzu zayn a shvalb (Like the swallow so proud and free?”)


Bidne kelbelech tut men bindn (Calves are easily bound and slaughtered)
Un men shlept zey un men shekht (Never knowing the reason why)
Ver s’hot fligl, flit aroyftzu (But whoever treasures freedom)
Iz bay keynem nisht keyn knekht (Like the swallow has learned to fly)


ROZHINKES MIT MANDLEN (Raisins with Almonds)

Performed by The Burning Bush – Music and lyrics: Abraham Goldfaden

In dem beys hamikdash in a vinkl kheyder (In a dark room in the study hall)
Zits di almone Bas Tsiyon aleyn (Sits the widow Bat-Zion, all alone)
Ir ben yokhidl Yidelen vigt zi keseder (Rocking as always her only son Yidele)
Un zingt im tsum shlofn a lidele sheyn (And singing him to sleep with a lovely tune)

Unter Yideles vigele (Beneath Yidele’s cradle )
Shteyt a klor vays tsigele (Stands a white baby goat)
Dos tsigele iz geforn handlen (The goat has gone trading)
Dos vet zayn dayn baruf (That will be your calling, too)
Roszhinkes mit mandlen (Raisins with almonds)
Shlof zhe, Yidele, shlof (Sleep, Yidele, sleep)

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