It’s ok. You can admit it. You’re among friends.
Every year when Parshas Vayishlach is leined, you have a certain song playing in your head; you might even find yourself humming it in an undertone as the Baal korei reads on…
Eisav was coming with 400 men, Yaakov davened to Hashem. “For milchama, we must prepare.” He told his family, “Have no fear!”
And if you’re already singing along, don’t worry, I can assure you that you’re not alone. It means you are likely one of the many readers who grew up in the late 70s / early 80s and who were privileged to experience the magical, humorous and innovative musical adventure that was 613 Torah Avenue.
Morahs Rivkah Neuman and Charna (Cheryle) Knobel had developed many songs in the pre-1A of Yeshiva Toras Emes in Brooklyn, NY, where they had been teaching for many years. After some well-timed encouragement and guidance, they pooled their ideas to create 613 Torah Avenue in order to interest and motivate children to learn about the Parshas Hashavua. Chumash Bereishis was released in 1977 to much acclaim, spurring Neuman and Knobel to produce future volumes in the years to follow.
Each parsha had an original song that was easily understood by listeners of all ages set in the context of a young boy named Chaim who had just moved into his new house in the neighborhood. He has no idea what a fantastic neighborhood it is, but boy is he in for a surprise! Wherever he turns, he meets another unexpected friend, who teaches him a new song about a Parsha. Mr. Streetlamp, Mr. Pump, Mr. Mobile – Chaim’s adventures on Torah Avenue are probably the most unusual that any child has ever had!
When speaking of 613 Torah Ave., one mustn’t forget to mention the contributions of a certain beloved rebbi and camp director, Rabbi Shmuel Kunda z’l, whose cover illustrations, narrations and animated voices were absolutely part and parcel, if not the primary cause of the series’ roaring success.
And so, without further ado – TTTO Sholom Secunda’s well-known Bei Mir Bistu Shein – here is The Parshas Vayishlach Song!