Hamabat Kadima

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1. Music Notation PDF: Lead sheet with melody and chords. 57.3 KB
2. Lyrics PDF: English, Hebrew, and transliteration 169 KB

Lyrics

1

It is not looking backward that repairs a person 
Rather it is looking ahead 
It is not looking backward that repairs a person 
Rather it is looking ahead 

Chorus

Hamabat kadima                          המבט קדימה
Hamabat kadi-ma-a                      המבט קדימה
Hamabat kadima                          המבט קדימה
Yitaken oti  yitaken oti       יתקן אותי  יתקן אותי

2a 

Lo hamabat achoranit      לא המבט אחורנית
Yitaken ha-adam                           יתקן האדם
Lo hamabat achoranit      לא המבט אחורנית
Yitaken  yitaken ha-adam   יתקן  יתקן האדם

2b 

Ela hamabat kadima       אלא המבט קדימה
Ela hamabat kadi-i-ma    אלא המבט קדימה
Ela hamabat kadima       אלא המבט קדימה
Yitaken  yitaken oti              יתקן  יתקן אותי

Notes

R' Wolbe taught that looking forward repairs a person. This means any person, yet that feels too distant. Every one of us has the responsibility to repair, so each of us must look forward.

Both the chorus and verse 2b add the words yitaken oti  [repairs me], to underscore the essential personal impact of his teaching.

Middot 

Hitlamdut  התלמדוּת  Continual Self-Learning
Truth  אמת  Emet  
Courage  עומץ לב  Ometz Lev  
Diligence  חריצוּת  Ḥaritzut
Humility  ענוה  Anavah  
Order  סדר  Seder  
Responsibility  אחריוּת  Acharayut 
Strength  גבוּרה  Gevurah 

Reflections on this Song

It is not looking backward that repairs a person,
rather it is looking forward.

—R’ Shlomo Wolbe 

Jewish tradition dedicates Elul, the month leading up to Rosh Hashanah, to gathering up the lessons of the past year, and charting our course for the year ahead. We start by looking backward, yet repair happens only when we also look forward. 

We’ve all had quite a ride recently. And it is important to look back at it, good and bad. However, we begin the repair in earnest when we map a route to the future that builds on the good and reduces the bad. Our map keeps us looking forward. 

How do we look forward in a way that repairs? My teacher, Moe Scott, explains that we must start with a specific vision, asking: Who do I want to be?

I always wanted to be somebody,
but now I realize I should have been more specific.

—Lily Tomlin 

Moe points out that role models are all around us, if we would recognize them, and name the specific ways we want to emulate them. Understanding why can also help. A wise person learns from everyone. 

What does looking forward require of me? Alan Morinis teaches that we shape our future selves—and our collective future—through every choice we make and every action we do. Looking ahead means seeing the likely outcomes of our actions, and choosing actions that lead toward our vision. Responsibility. Diligence. Truth. Strength.

R’ Wolbe directs us to gaze confidently into the future we aspire to create—always, yet especially during the season of return. 

Elul gives us time to paint our forward vision, with enough specificity. 

By Rosh Hashanah it is time to commit to that vision. Courage!

For ten days culminating in Yom Kippur we clearly identify and confront the obstacles that have tripped us up, and could again block the path to making our vision a reality. We patch up the potholes, restoring order. Glancing backward, we smooth our way forward. 

At Sukkot we energize with joy and start walking forward—shaping the future to match our vision. And every step of the way, we continue looking ahead. Eyes on the prize. That’s how we repair ourselves, and our world.

 

Photo by Daniel Lerman on Unsplash