Thoughts on Judaism

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The little bird is annoying

OK, I absolutely loathe the "Little Bird" song that they sing in Chabad children's programs. Below is a copy of the lyrics:

The little bird is calling,
It wishes to return.
The little bird is wounded,
It cannot fly but yearn.
It’s captured by the vultures,
Crying bitterly,
Oh, to see my nest again,
Oh, to be redeemed.

The little bird of silver,
So delicate and rare,
Still chirps amongst the vultures,
Outshining all that’s there.
How long, how long it suffers,
How long will it be,
When will come the eagle,
And set the little bird free.

The little bird is Yisroel,
The vultures are our foes,
The painful wound is Golus,
Which we all feel and know,
The nest is Yerushalayim,
Where we yearn to be once more,
The eagle is the Moshiach,
Whom we are waiting for.

So why would I despise a song with such admirable lyrics. It is just so, so SO SO. Here it is.
This song is a parable (note it is not literal even to the greatest fundamentalist maniac) about the travels of the Jewish people. As far as I know, no sage ever gave this parable, so it is simply conceived for the purpose of kiruv. But even if I am wrong, and it was said by the alter zeide of the Shlumkeforendiker Rebbe, this adaptation is so banal, so insulting to our intelligence, so "in your face", that I have to walk out of the room and supress nausea when it is performed.

The song is bad enough. It drones through very slowly and monotonously. As you see, one must endure 3 full stanzas of this repetitive chant. Arrrrrgh! But the lyrics are absolutely written for an IQ of 16.5, perhaps. It tells me the entire obvious parable. It tells me the entire nimshal, as if I am incapable of discerning some deep subtle point hidden in there somewhere. Its imagery is incomprehensible and obtuse, that somehow this little bird is hated by all the other birds, how it is suffering somehow, how it will be set free by an eagle for some unknown reason. It is trying to say a lot in a few words, but it ends up saying nothing in way too many. It stresses the shtetl mentality, how they oppress us, how they are all horrible, how we are all wonderful and righteous.

In the end, I suppose it wants to tell us that we yearn for Moshiach. But by the time we get there, we wish our eardrums had been punctured with an icepick, and the little bird had been mercifully shechted and fried for Shabbos. It teaches its audience the typical victim mentality, and that this is the reason we should want Moshiach. Personally, I don't think we should want Moshiach because of Iran. It is because of the prospect of "knowing G-d" that should keep us interested. Irans come and go and Germanys come and go, with or without Moshiach. Please guys, rip this one out of the song book.


  • B"H
    It dosn't teach "victim mentality" it simply appeals to Jews who are victims or have victim mentality.

    By Blogger Rabbi Ariel Sokolovsky, at 7:29 PM  

  • But if Moschiah comes, there'll be no more Irans or Germanys, which is enough to keep me interested. (Though I concede that knowing G-d is certainly a fine thing too- but who can focus on that when you're busy worrying about being schechted and fried by the Iranians or the Germans?)

    By Anonymous woodrow, at 1:57 AM  

  • It stresses the shtetl mentality, how they oppress us, how they are all horrible, how we are all wonderful and righteous.
    Oy, you mean it isn't true ? "Eisav soneh es Yankev" isn't a halacha ? We are not better and holier than everyone else ?

    Wow, it's good I found out just in time, I might still have a chance to attend a christmas party or two :)

    By Anonymous onionsoupmix, at 1:11 PM  

  • so onionsoupmix's Judaism is based solely on the axiom that it makes them intrinsicly better than the rest of the world? and if that's not what Yahadut is all about, we might as well go off and stop being Jewish?


    By Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg), at 12:11 PM  

  • Steg

    What's wrong with your sarcasm meter?

    By Blogger Rebeljew, at 6:31 PM  

  • I just got the chills...I had to sing that song for my grade school choir....blech. I can still remember my solo, and our "conductor" gripping his fist and mouthing, "more shmaltz, more shmaltz"....

    By Blogger Ben Avuyah, at 10:28 AM  

  • rebeljew:

    it's not calibrated properly.
    sometimes it needs a good smack to register ;-)

    (if only that worked on my new car compass)

    By Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg), at 8:21 AM  

  • while on the topic of saccharine chabadian songs, anyone remember "Puff the Kosher Dragon"?

    By Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg), at 8:22 AM  

  • It's not a chabad song, it's from Tzlil Va'zemer, and old Jewish children's choir

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:58 PM  

  • I have to say that it does baffle me--why is an eagle going to rescue a little bird from vultures again?

    By Blogger Balabusta in Blue Jeans, at 3:51 PM  

  • And vultures do not usually take captives. Strict "no prisoners" policy, you know.

    Perhaps the little bird should have been captured by a pet store. The Nemo story is a far better mashal for redemption.

    By Blogger Rebeljew, at 12:06 AM  

  • Whoever wrote the lyrics doesn't know anything about birds. Vultures only eat DEAD carcasses. Eagles will feed on smaller birds.

    By Blogger Shlomo, at 4:22 PM  

  • USFINE.COM devote itself to aoc powerlevewling service.

    By Blogger rebecca, at 9:15 PM  

  • Dude,
    It's a children's song. Lighten up!

    By Blogger No Victim, at 7:31 AM  

  • excuse me but none of you have any idea how o l d this song is!I learned it as a very very young child in the late 1950s! so don't try attacking it w/ 21st century attitudes when it was probably written in some frum camp shortly after the end of the holocaust. The words are set to the tune of "bearvot hanegev" about an Israeli soldier killed in the Negev, another indication that it was probably a color war song or some such.

    By Anonymous savtag, at 5:56 PM  

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