Friday, August 5, 2011

Leonard Cohen: If It Be Your Will



Leonard Cohen and the Webb Sisters, Charley and Hattie Webb, perform from London's 02 Arena, one of Europe's largest indoor venues, on July 17, 2008. Cohen was on the road from May 2008 to December 2010, giving 246 shows in Europe, Australia, Canada, Israel and United States. Cohen is now 76.
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Leonard Cohen released this song on the album, Various Positions, in 1984. It is the last song on Side Two. The song, although elliptical, has decidedly religious meaning, recognizing that G-d has a role in shaping our lives. Humility is the desired result of such self-recognition, and language has a role to play in achieving such an outcome. For example, many observant Jews use phrases like, If it be G-d's Will, Im Yirtzheh Hashem (IY"H), or With the help of G-d, Be'Ezrat Hashem (B"H)— בעזרת השם —when discussing a future event.

Leonard Cohen, who is a Kohen, the priestly class of Jews linked to Aaron the high priest, assuredly understands the meaning and significance of the words that he wrote. And with good effect.

If It Be Your Will
By Leonard Cohen

If it be your will
That I speak no more
And my voice be still
As it was before
I will speak no more
I shall abide until
I am spoken for
If it be your will

If it be your will
That a voice be true
From this broken hill
I will sing to you
From this broken hill
All your praises they shall ring
If it be your will
To let me sing
From this broken hill
All your praises they shall ring
If it be your will
To let me sing

If it be your will
If there is a choice
Let the rivers fill
Let the hills rejoice
Let your mercy spill
On all these burning hearts in hell
If it be your will
To make us well

And draw us near
And bind us tight
All your children here
In their rags of light
In our rags of light
All dressed to kill
And end this night
If it be your will

If it be your will.