Yosl at the Shalshelet Festival

Shalshelet Festival logo One of Wholesale Klezmer lead singer Yosl Kurland's Yiddish songs has been chosen for the Shalshelet Festival of New Jewish Liturgical Music which took place in December, 2008 at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue in downtown Washington, DC. Yosl was invited to sing "Der Meshiekh Vet Ersht Kumen" (The Messiah will not come until...) in the festival concert on Saturday evening, December 13th beginning at 8:30 pm. The song, which, was composed to be sung after the Havdole ceremony at the end of Shabbos, was the concert closer. Most of the prayers and songs in the festival are in Hebrew. Some are in English. Yosl's song is the only Yiddish song to be chosen for the 2008 festival.

The winning songs for the 2008 festival were first presented in Milwaukee last June. You can see a list of the composers and their works at: http://www.shalshelet.org/wsjl.html

Shalshelet's mission is to use music to build bridges both within and outside the Jewish community. Shalshelet's participants are drawn from across all Jewish denominations - Reform, Conservative, modern Orthodox, Reconstructionist, Havurah, affiliated, and unaffiliated. In addition, Shalshelet solicits, collects, publishes, and disseminates new compositions without regard to the professional or lay status of the composers.

Shalshelet's International Festival of New Jewish Liturgical Music recognizes and awards excellence in new liturgical composition. It brings together composers, performers, workshop participants, and the public to celebrate and circulate new music set to traditional texts. The public concert and related workshops are supplemented by songbooks and CDs which allow the composers to share their music with individuals and congregations across the nation and around the world.

Der Moshiakh Vet Ersht Kumen --The Messiah Will Only Come (when he is no longer needed)

Start the player to listen to an excerpt

Words, translation, and music © copyright 1997 by Joseph M. Kurland.

There is a Jewish teaching from the Talmud. It goes, “You are not required to complete the task, neither are you permitted to refrain from undertaking it.” To make the world a better place we must start the task ourselves without despairing that we can not accomplish it in our lifetime. Neither will the messianic age of peace and justice come to the world through prayer alone. According to the Jewish teaching called Tikkun Olom, we are partners with God in repairing this world, and only by our participation in Tikkun Olom will the Messianic age ever come. Whether you are a Jew still waiting for the Messiah to come, a Christian waiting for the second coming, or a non-believer, the message rings true: If we want to have a world at peace, we must work for peace ourselves. If that doesn’t bring the coming of the Messiah in person, it will still be all that we wish for.

The chorus melody of this song repeats with the syllables: ay bay bay. Please join in and sing along.

Der moshiakh vet ersht kumen, az vet men darfn im nisht mer,
Ven der sholem vet hobn zikh farshpreyt, oyf der gantser erd,
Ven dos tsidkes vet shoyn hobn ale rishes farbaytn.
Un es vendt af undz tsu tuen vos vet brengen meshiakhs tsaytn.

Chorus: Lomir, lomir makhn sholem,
bageyn zikh mit yoysher.
Heyln, nebekh, undzere velt,
Vos iz undz di tayerste oytser,
Ven avdes un unterdrikung
Darft keyner nisht mer laydn,
Me darft nisht zen meshiekhn ,
s’vet zayn meshiekhs tsaytn.
yay day day......

Un az der moshiakh vet take kumen, vi volt men im derkent?
Hot men undz shoyn opgenart, hot men undz shoyn farbrent,
Nor ven ma’asim toyvim veln tuen ale layt,
Mir veln hobn, borukh hashem, gebrakht meshiekhs tsayt.


keyedue, kumt Eliyohu hanovi vi an oremer farshtelt,
k’dey mehader zayn vos far a koved, git men im af der velt,
un eyder kumt er in oylom habe mitn gutn barikht,
umzist gezukht meshiekhn, vos iz gekumen shoyn bay zikh.


The Messiah will only come when he is no longer needed,
When peace will have spread over the whole world,
When goodness has replaced all meanness,
And it depends upon us to do what will bring the Messianic age.

Chorus: So let us make peace and act with justice.
And heal our poor world which is our most precious treasure.
When no one need endure slavery and oppression,
We won’t need to see the messiah to know the time of the Messiah has come.
yay day day......

And when the messiah will actually come,
How would we recognize him?
Only when all people do good deeds,
We will have, thanks to G-d, have brought the messianic age.


As is well known, Elijah the Prophet goes disguised as a poor person,
In order to observe whether people treat him with kindness and respect,
And before he could deliver his good report in paradise,
He wouldn’t have needed to look for the Messiah who would already have arrived.