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Who by Fire | Leonard Cohen

Tags: Judaism, Religion, Music, Tradition, Yom Kippur, Activities

“Who by fire” is Leonard Cohen’s version of the Hebrew prayer "Unetanneh Tokef", chanted on Yom Kippur. It was released in the 1974 album “New Skin for the Old Ceremony.” This is one of the main songs of the album and one of Cohen’s best known songs.

The prayer Cohen heard as a child in the synagogue describes God reviewing the Book of Life and deciding the fate of every soul for the year to come – who will live, who will die and how. The line: “And who shall I say is calling?” can be understood as a break from faith in God. According to Cohen that element of doubt is what made the song into a personal prayer for him.

And who by fire, who by water
Who in the sunshine, who in the night time
Who by high ordeal, who by common trial
Who in your merry merry month of May
Who by very slow decay
And who shall I say is calling?

And who in her lonely slip, who by barbiturate
Who in these realms of love, who by something blunt
And who by avalanche, who by powder
Who for his greed, who for his hunger
And who shall I say is calling?

And who by brave assent, who by accident
Who in solitude, who in this mirror
Who by his lady's command, who by his own hand
Who in mortal chains, who in power
And who shall I say is calling?
And who shall I say is calling?

And who by fire who by water
Who in the sunshine, who in the night time
Who by high ordeal, who by common trial
Who in your merry merry month of May
Who by very slow decay
And who shall I say is calling?
And who shall I say is calling?

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Tags: Judaism, Religion, Music, Tradition, Yom Kippur, Activities

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> a really cool quote from a nice person
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