Special for you, in honor of Shavuos: sheet music for “The Place Where I Belong”, by Abie Rotenberg (Journeys I).
Hear the tune on the piano:
(Based on the full sheet music for both hands)
Download The Sheet Music
Full Sheet Music (both hands)
The Place Where I Belong – both hands PDF
Fake Book Style (melody and chords)
The Place Where I Belong – fake book style PDF
This is the kind of sheet music I was searching for but never found as young piano student who played only by reading notes. It features both the right hand and left hand, and is challenging enough for a fairly advanced pianist.
Also included is the “fake book” style sheet music – basic melody line with chords on top, for those who prefer to play off of chords. This may also be more suitable for players who find the full notes too difficult.
“The Place Where I Belong” is a song about a Torah and its journey. The Torah is written in purity and holiness, and regarded with the utmost care and respect by the people who use it. The Torah is then hidden during dark times. Later, it is rescued and placed in a museum. The Torah is not happy with its new life in the museum; it wants to be read from, it wants the people to live by its holy words.
The message of this song is beautiful: the Torah is meant to be lived by, not just valued as a historical artifact. It is not a relic of a world that was; it is a guide for our lives even today.
The (moving) Lyrics
(I cry at the end of the song every time I sing it!)
The Place Where I Belong
I was made way back in 1842,
By a humble man, a real G-d fearing Jew,
Who did his work with honesty, feeling and with pride,
He was known in Kiev as Yankele the Scribe.
With loving care his hands so sure and still,
He formed me with some parchment, ink and quill.
Each day he’d slowly add to me just a few more lines,
With words to last till the end of time.
And on the day that I was finally complete,
The whole town came and filled the narrow street,
And they sang and danced and held me high as they carried me away,
To the little wooden shul where I would stay.
And as the Rabbi held me close against his chest,
He spoke out loud and clear to all the rest.
He said, “No matter if you’re very young, or even if you’re old,
Live by the words you’ll find inside this Scroll.”
Three days a week they read from me out loud,
It filled my soul with joy, it made me proud.
They followed each and every verse with fire in their eyes,
The words that told them how to live their lives.
I watched the generations come and go.
I saw the old men die, the children grow.
But never in a century, did I miss my turn once,
For the fathers, they had left me with their sons.
But the hatred from the West came to Kiev,
And they rounded up the Jews who had not fled.
But Moishele the Shammes, he was brave and he was bold;
He hid me in his cellar, dark and cold.
And for years and years I waited all alone,
For the people of my town to take me home.
And they’d sing and dance and hold me high when they carried me away,
To my little wooden shul where I would stay.
But it was someone else who found my hiding place,
And to America they sent me in a crate.
And the men who took me off the boat, they said I was a prize.
But they were Jews I did not recognize.
And in a case of glass they put me on display,
Where visitors would look at me and say,
“How very nice, how beautiful! A stunning work of art”.
But they knew not what was inside my heart.
And across the room I saw upon the shelf,
Some old friends of mine who lived back in Kiev:
A silver pair of candlesticks, a menorah made of brass.
We’d all become mere echoes of the past.
So if you hear my voice, why don’t you come along,
And take me to the place where I belong?
And maybe even sing and dance when you carry me away,
To some little wooden shul where I could stay.
And as the Rabbi holds me close against his chest,
He’ll speak out loud and clear to all the rest.
He’ll say, “No matter if you’re very young, or even if you’re old,
Live by the words you’ll find inside this scroll.
Live by the words you’ll find inside my soul.”