Of all my years recording piyutim and tefilot, the one recording that I get most comments about is the one of Megilat Esther. I have met people from around the globe who have told me that they learned the Megila from my recording. It makes me proud of what I do and gives me the strength to keep on doing it. Thank you everyone for your support!
Here is the entire Megila read with Moroccan Ta'amim.
And so ends the Bakashot season... Shabbat Zachor marks the end of the unofficial winter months and so too the Bakashot. Nevertheless, the bakashot of this week are arguably the most well known and most attended to. Most of the bakashot speak about the story of Purim and its melody flows throughout all the piyutim. As you listen to them, you will probably notice that many of the tunes are familiar to you. For example, in Part One, the piyut "Ashir Bizmirot" is the same tune that many French Moroccan Jews sing for "Elohim Hai" for a bar mitzvah boy. Like this, there is many.
I have recorded a shortened version of the Bakashot consisting of only the main songs (popular ones) in hopes that people will listen to them and learn them.
The custom is to recite this piyut just prior to Birkat HaMazon. The reason is because its four stanzas correspond to each of the four blessings of Birkat HaMazon: Food, Israel, Jerusalem, Bet Hamikdash.
I sing it to a traditional Spanish-Ladino tune that is quite repetitive and easy to learn. It has been adapted by many of the Sepharadim around the world. While studying in Yeshiva in Israel, the custom was to change the tune of the last stanza "Yibane HaMikdash" to the tune "Im hacham libecha beni" (to be recorded at a later time) and therefore, I have, too, changed the melody.
During times of persecution, Jews were often prohibited from performing commandments or praying to the One above. Such a scenario took place during the years prior to the Spanish Inquisition, when countless Jews were forced to practice Judaism while hidden. It is said that the gentiles prohibited all types of prayer to God, if it wasn't to the Christian deity. Jews were not allowed, hence, to recite Birkat Hamazon. In its place, Jews of Spain composed this poem to thank God for providing them with their sustenance.
Thankfully, we are no longer under the whips of the gentiles and therefore we are able to freely recite Birkat HaMazon whenever we wish. However, until today, some Jews in Spanish cities in North Africa, along with the entire Sephardic community of Gibraltar, have kept the practice to recite this hymn.
In order that it should not take the rightful place of Birkat Hamazon, Jews of Gibraltar sing "Bendigamos" after the recital of Birkat HaMazon.
It's a gorgeous melody, and I'm proud to record it, hopefully, with the same accuracy as my fellow brothers in Gibraltar.
There is no official tune for Birkat Hamazon for Moroccans. I give lots of credit to my Ashkenazi brothers for founding a beautiful catchy melody for this integral part of Judaism. What I've done was taken their tune and adapted it to the standard Sephardic words. (note: The Moroccan version of Birkat Hamazon, has some slight variations and additions). Finally, after adapting it to the words, I made sure to add some Moroccan twists to it. Hope you enjoy!
(The birkat hamazon, was recited with weekday words, not Shabbat)
Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi glorifies the beauty of Shabbat in this poem, in which its lyrics has transcended the entire Jewish world. Many Moroccan Jews have the custom to sing this song on any given Shabbat, but more specifically on Shabbat Parashat Mishpatim, since it is found in the Bakashot of that week. Nevertheless, you will find the lyrics printed in many books of piyutim.
The maqam is Hijaz el Kbir.
At the end of the recording I sing the tune to the words of Shavat Aniyim but it will also fit in any quatrain lyrics.