Oyfn Pripetshik In the Woodstove Burns a Little Fire words and music by Mark Warshawksy
In this song, rebe refers to a humble teacher of young children. For over 100 years, a song that already gave a nostalgic image when it was written has moved people, conjuring up a picture of little boys restless and warm by the woodstove as their teacher patiently drills them in the Hebrew alphabet. The power of the song is in the power of the letters and the memories.
Oyfn pripetshik In the woodstove
Brent a fayerl Burns a little fire
Un in shtub iz heys And in the building it's warm
Un der rebe lernt kleyne kinderlekh And the teacher teaches little children
Dem alef-beys The Hebrew alphabet
Un der rebe lernt kleyne kinderlekh
Zet zhe kinderlekh See, little children
Gedenkt zhe tayere Remember, dear ones
Vos ir lernt do What you learn here
Zogt zhe nokh a mol Say one more time
Un take nokh a mol And even one more time
Komets-alef: “o” Aleph with a komets vowel -- "o"
Zogt zhe nokh a mol un take nokh a mol
Az ir vet, kinder, When you, children, come to
Dem goles shlepn Carry the weight of exile
Oys-gemutshet zayn You will be weary
Zolt ir fun di oysyes koyekh shepn You must draw strength from the letters
Kukt in zey arayn Look into them
Zolt ir fun di oysyes koyekh shepn
Kukt in zey arayn
Zet zhe kinderlekh...