Oyfn Pripetshik

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"Oyfn Pripetshik" (Yiddish: אויפן פריפעטשיק‎, also spelled Oyfn Pripetchik, Oyfn Pripetchek, etc.[1]) (English: On the Hearth[2]) is a Yiddish song by M.M. Warshawsky (1848–1907). The song is about a rabbi teaching his young students the aleph-bet. By the end of the 19th century it was one of the most popular songs of the Jews of Central and Eastern Europe, and as such it is a major musical memory of pre-Holocaust Europe.[3] The song is still sung in Jewish kindergartens.

The fourth stanza introduces tragic pathos into the song: "When, children, you will grow older / You will understand / How many tears lie in these letters / And how much crying."[4] The lyrics hint at the traditional Yiddish saying that "The history of the Jews is written in tears".[4]


% 0
 \tempo "allegro"
\numericTimeSignature \time 3/4 \key c \minor
 c'8 d'8 ees'8 ees'8 ees'4 d'8 f'8 ees'8 d'8 c'4 ees'8 bes8 ees'4 f'4 g'2.

% 2

c''8 g'8 bes'8 aes'8 f'8 d'8 f'8 aes'8 g'8 ees'8 c'4 d'8 f'8 ees'4 f'4 g'2. c''8 g'8 bes'8 aes'8 f'8 d'8 f'8 aes'8 g'8 ees'8 c'4 d'8 f'8 ees'4 d'4 c'2.
\bar "|"

Oyfn pripetchik brent a fayerl,

Un in shtub iz heys,

Un der rebe lernt kleyne kinderlekh,

Dem alef-beys.


Zet zhe kinderlekh, gedenkt zhe, tayere,

Vos ir lernt do;

Zogt zhe nokh a mol un take nokh a mol:

Komets-alef: o!

Lernt, kinder, mit groys kheyshek,

Azoy zog ikh aykh on;

Ver s'vet gikher fun aykh kenen ivre -

Der bakumt a fon.

Lernt, kinder, hot nit moyre,

Yeder onheyb iz shver;

Gliklekh der vos hot gelernt toyre,

Tsi darf der mentsh nokh mer?

Ir vet, kinder, elter vern,

Vet ir aleyn farshteyn,

Vifl in di oysyes lign trern,

Un vi fil geveyn.

Az ir vet, kinder, dem goles shlepn,

Oysgemutshet zayn,

Zolt ir fun di oysyes koyekh shepn,

Kukt in zey arayn!!!!

English translation[edit]

On the hearth, a fire burns,

And in the house it is warm.

And the rabbi is teaching little children,

The alphabet.


See, children, remember, dear ones,

What you learn here;

Repeat and repeat yet again,

"Komets-alef: o!"

Learn, children, with great enthusiasm.

So I instruct you;

He among you who learns Hebrew pronunciation faster -

He will receive a flag.

Learn children, don't be afraid,

Every beginning is hard;

Lucky is the one has learned Torah,

What more does a person need?

When you grow older, children,

You will understand by yourselves,

How many tears lie in these letters,

And how much lament.

When you, children, will bear the Exile,

And will be exhausted,

May you derive strength from these letters,

Look in at them!

Recorded versions[edit]

The song has been featured on soundtracks including:

The song is quoted in the Viola Sonata by Graham Waterhouse, entitled Sonata ebraica (Hebrew Sonata), written in 2012 and 2013, and recorded in 2015 by Hana Gubenko and Timon Altwegg who commissioned and premiered it.[7]


  1. ^ The word pripetshik is borrowed from Russian pripechek, a shelf by a Russian oven
  2. ^ Walden, Joshua S. (2015). The Cambridge Companion to Jewish Music. Cambridge University Press. p. 62. ISBN 1107023459. 
  3. ^ Holocaust related music.
  4. ^ a b Rubin, Emanuel. Music in Jewish History and Culture. Harmonie Park Press, 2006, p. 186.
  5. ^ "Soundtracks for "Brothers & Sisters" episode Light the Lights". IMDB1. Retrieved 5 May 2011. 
  6. ^ "Soundtracks for Billy Bathgate". IMDB2. Retrieved 5 May 2011. 
  7. ^ Preisser, Martin (11 December 2015). "Die Bratsche in jüdischer Klage" (in German). Tagblatt. Retrieved 13 May 2017.