Monday, December 26, 2016

Bob Dylan & The Band: Forever Young (1976)

Bob Dylan & The Band perform “Forever Young” at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, on November 25, 1976, in a concert called The Last Waltz, the Band’s farewell appearance. The song is the sixth and last track on Side 1 on Planet Waves, Dylan’s 14th studio album, which Asylum Records released on January 17, 1974.

The song is in the form of a heartfelt prayer of a father to a son, which has echoes of the Priestly Blessing, ברכת כהנים‎, the Birkat Kohanim. This has its origins in the Bible (Numbers 6:23–27), where it was first performed by the Temple priests, led by the high priest Aaron. Together, in unison, they raised their hands to bless the children of Israel with this threefold benediction.

It is still performed today, every morning in Jerusalem, and during the major Jewish festivals outside Israel. It is also customary for Jewish families today to bless their children with this benediction during the Friday night Sabbath (Shabbat) meal.

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Forever Young
by Bob Dylan

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young

Priestly Blessing
ברכת כהנים
Birkat Kohanim

May the LORD bless you and guard you
יְבָרֶכְךָ יהוה, וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ
‎(Yevhārēkh-khā Adhōnāy veyishmerēkhā)

May the LORD make His face shed light upon you and be gracious unto you 
יָאֵר יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וִיחֻנֶּךָּ‎
(Yāʾēr Adhōnāy pānāw ēlekhā viḥunnékkā)

May the LORD lift up His face unto you and give you peace
 יִשָּׂא יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם‎
(Yissā Adhōnāy pānāw ēlekhā viyāsēm lekhā shālōm)

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You can view a video of the Birkat Kohanimat Jerusalem’s Western Wall (the Kotel) [here].

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