Adon Olam (Y’DID Singers)

January 19, 2021

Some days are not an issue. Some days you awaken with the strength of a lion (see previous Morning Melodies), and if you’re really on your game, you might even beat the alarm to the punch and be on your feet before it makes a sound. Those are the good days. Then there are the tough days. The tough days are when the alarm clocks you with a couple of punches before you finally manage to hit the snooze button. Then, after repeating this painful sequence a few more times, and even after making an unenthusiastic effort to sit up, that half-functioning brain of yours starts giving you a million reasons why you’d probably be better off going back to sleep!

For those of you who don’t relate – first of all, good for you. Secondly, please let us know your secret. Thanks. But, even if this is not something you struggle with, try to think back to when it did. Like when the baby woke you up several times a night, or when tomorrow’s looming workload weighed heavily on your mind, preventing you from getting a good night’s sleep. So now, by the time morning rolls around, you’re already on the wrong side of well-rested and are already pretty wary of the whatever upcoming uncertainty awaits you. These days, just preparing to face the next 24 hours can be daunting enough, without any of the added aforementioned drama.

As always, our Chachamim provided the solution. You see, built in to our daily tefilos are not just the answers to our occasional morning malfunction; within the pages of our siddurim, we actually find the keys to a proper outlook for every day of our entire lives! Among the many psalms and hymns that we read throughout the day, there is one profound poem by which we inaugurate the morning service. We initiate Tefilas Shacharis with an ancient prayer to acknowledge Hashem’s sovereignty over mankind, the world, and every single aspect of creation. Every detail of our lives, both big and small, is firmly and unequivocally in the sure and loving hands of the Master of the Universe – the Adon Olam.

In 1968, while still a senior in high school, Dov Frimer composed a tune that he considered to be unworthy of the public’s ear. In the years to follow, Dov would graduate BTA and make his way through Yeshiva University’s higher education program – but the song he composed would remain hidden. 1972 was a busy year for Dov and his friends. Besides for keeping up with their studies, their band, The Y’DID Singers would be featured as vocalists on the first Kol Salonika record, and would also begin recording their own album, which we’ll get to in a minute. {It was also the year that Dov composed the world’s most popular tune for Al Hanisim, but that is another story entirely. See our Chanukah post for more on that epic composition.}

When The Y’DID Singers (Yechiel Eckstein a’h, Dovid Hornung, Ira Schnall, and Dov Frimer) were narrowing down the song list, they turned to Frimer and asked the talented composer if he had any other songs that he might want to record. Dov, almost sheepishly suggested that they use the tune he had composed as a senior in high school – “Adon Olam.” He was embarrassed to even offer it as a serious option, which is why the response he received was totally unexpected. Not only did they unanimously agree to use the song, they also chided their friend for keeping it under wraps all these years. “This will become a hit!” they told him. And so it did.

Following the record’s release, Adon Olam became popular among all types of groups and singers. Choirs, cantors, and a cappella groups around the world, all made this song their own, each in their own unique way. One cantor even started taking credit for the tune! So when Dov and his Bar Ilan buddies formed the Shivat Zion band in 1974, they made sure to put this Adon Olam on their debut record as well, thus removing any doubt of the composer’s identity once and for all.

When we say Adon Olam, we are reminded that we are not in control but that Hashem is in charge. He takes care of our every need with perfect precision – more perfect than we can possibly imagine. ‘Hashem is with me and I don’t fear a thing’ – No more do we have to struggle with our doubts and our fears, because when we know with absolute certainty that Hashem runs the world, then we can let go and let God. And now that we have established this truth, we are able to take on the day with a renewed sense of confidence and heartfelt joy. Almost makes you want to sing, doesn’t it…

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