JEWISH SONG COLLECTION
Title: Nekhtn bin ikh geven af yene velt (Yesterday I was in Heaven)
Transcription: Miriam Isaacs
Translation: Miriam Isaacs
Information: In Yiddish, yene velt is Paradise, heaven. We know nothing about the singer, Zalmen, or where the song comes from. In this song the singer fantasizes that he was there in the beyond, and came back from the world to come to tell us about it. There the patriarchs and matriarchs are theater folk. Eve is playing with her snake, Adam is a coat maker, Jacob is a director of a theater, and an angel (also patron) is making a program. But the angels, not the usual rich donors, are shoemakers who run around barefoot in the frosts. Things are all backward, because there is heat in heaven and cold in hell.
Af yene velt bin ikh gevezn nekhtn, nekhtn
Vos hob ikh af yene velt gezen?
Ver volt zikh zikher gekent rekhtn, rekhtn
Vos ikh hob af yene velt gezen?
Odem ha rishon iz a mentl makher
Khave makht dokh kuntsn mit der shlang
Yakov iz a direkter in teater
A malekh firt mit im a program
Ayeder malekh handlt dort mit zapatkes, zapatkes
Burves loyft arim in di greste frest
In gan eden a hits, in gehenem a kelt
Dos hob ikh gezen af yene velt
This is what I saw in the World to Come
I was in the world to come yesterday,
What did I see yesterday in the world to come?
Who could have surely expected to see?
What I saw in the world to come?
Adam is a coat maker.
Eve is fooling around with the snake.
Jack is a director in the theater.
An angel is making a program with him.
An angel is dealing in shoes
But runs around barefoot in the coldest frosts.
In paradise it is hot, in hell it is cold,
That is what I saw in the other world.