A Sukkale a Kleine – Meaningful Succos Music

By Gershon Seif

When I was in elementary school back in the 60’s, Jewish music was a bit different than the kind of stuff that you hear nowadays.

On an album called The Rabbi’s Sons, there was a an old Yiddish song about a Jew who built himself a simple little Sukkah that can barely stand. His daughter comes in to serve the first course and tells her father that she’s afraid the Sukkah is about to collapse. He tells her not to worry. Their Sukkah is similar to the Jewish people living through their long and bitter exile. The sukkah will endure just as the Jewish people have endured.

There is something that gets me every time I sing this song. Powerful stuff from another world.

Here are the lyrics with their translation:

Ah sukkale ah kleine
Fun bretelech gemeine
Hob ich mir ah sukkale gemacht
Tzugedekt dem dach
Mit ah bissele schach
Zitz ich mir in sukkale banacht.

A sukkale, a little one,
Of meager boards
I made myself a sukkale
Covered the roof
With a bit of schach
I sit myself down in the sukkale at night.

Ah vint ah kalten
Blozt durch di shpalten
Un di lichtelech
Zei leshen zich fil
Es iz mir ah chiddush
Vi ich mach mir kiddush
Un di lichtelech zei brenen gantz shtil.

A wind, a cold one,
Blows through the cracks
And the little candles
They flicker so much
It’s a chiddush to me
How I make me kiddush
And the candles burn so still!

Tzum ershten gericht
Mit ah blasen gezicht
Brengt mir mein techterel arein
Zi shtelt zich avek
Un zugt mit shrek
Tatele di sukka falt bald ein.

For the first course
With a pale face
My little daughter brings in
She stands there
And says with fright
Tatale, the sukka is about to fall in!

Zai nisht kein nar
Hob nisht kein tzar
Di sukkaleh vet nisht ainfaln;
Di vintn vos brumn
Mir veln farkumn
Di sukkaleh shteit shoin gantz lang.

Don’t be a fool
Don’t have any tzaar
The sukkale won’t fall in
The winds that are howling
We will overcome
The sukkale, has already stood quite a long time!

Zie nisht kein nar
Hob nit kein tzar
Zol dir di sukka nit tun bang
Es iz shoin gor
Bald tzvei toizent yor
Un de sukkale zi shteit noch ganz lang.

Don’t be a fool
Don’t have any tzaar
Don’t let the sukka give you any grief
It is already
Almost two thousand years
And the sukkale, she is still standing all this time!

First Posted on Oct 12, 2006

7 comments on “A Sukkale a Kleine – Meaningful Succos Music

  1. Moyshe, on Yom Tov you’re posting? Oy a brokh. Gae a shtiebl und daven mit der underer Yiddishe menschen fun Simchas Toyreh.

    Forgive my lousy Yiddish, don’t post on Simchas Torah next week, go to shul and dance with the Torah.

    Shmuel, a number of Jewish record labels also have Yiddish records in their catalogs. Start with Aderet Music. Also, check with “Country Yossi Magazine,” I think they just listed a kids’ CD for Sukkos, that might include the Sukkele song (not that many kids’ songs for Sukkos, so it’s a good bet).

  2. Hello
    I’m looking for the melody of this beautyful song (a sukkele), i need it for my pupils.
    were can i purchase the particular song or the whole CD/LP (whatever)

  3. Today’s youth can have all their high tech and electronic stuff.

    Nothing IMO beats the pristine acoustic guitars and the soul-fueled harmonies of The Rabbi’s Sons and of course, Shlomo.

    Dos iz shayne und shtarke niggunim fun die Yiddishe hartz.

  4. Gershon Seif: Thanks for your post. It’s hard to describe the pleasure that hearing old Yiddish songs gives to those familiar with them. I’ll try to bring this one along next time I visit the nursing home.

  5. My kids sing a version like this:

    My sukkale was small
    Not fancy at all
    But it was special and dear to me
    Some s’chach I threw over it
    Hoping to cover it
    And there I’d sit and think

    The wind was a strong one
    The boards they were old ones
    The candles were flickering low
    At times as if dying
    Then suddenly rising

    My sweet little daughter
    Was bringing me water
    And the wind started to blow
    Father she cried, don’t stay there inside
    The wind’s too strong, the sukkele will fall

    Fear not my child
    It has been a while,
    The sukkele is still standing strong
    The wind has been worse my dear
    but its almost two thousand yrs.
    The Sukkele can last very long.

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