Simu Lev / Pay Heed
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Odeh LaEl (Simu Lev El Haneshama), a 16th century North African piyut (liturgical poem), reminds us that every morning offers a new chance to examine our souls and rediscover the goodness and jewels within that might have become hidden during the long night. As we learned the beautiful melody to those words at services one Shabbat morning, I wondered how the poet imagined those amethysts and opals on God's throne. Perhaps, like people made in God's image, they were also a bit rough and unfinished on the edges, clinging to one another as each reflected the light from above that illuminated their search.
Text: Odeh LaEl (Simu Lev El Haneshama), verses 1-4
Pay heed, pay heed to your own soul:
Opal, amethyst and gold,
As bright as is the sun's warm glow,
Far brighter than the morning!
I thank God who probes all hearts
When stars sing in the morning.
In this wilderness she roams,
A gemstone hewn from God's throne,
To redeem us from wrath's flame
And light our way before morning.
Awake! Awake! For every night
Your soul ascends to a place on high
And there count for her deeds that day
To the maker of night and morning.
(The version with the English translation includes a short part of this text.)
Listen to a beautiful rendition of the the piyut as sung by Rakefet Amsalem.