Der Filosof

The Philosopher
דער פֿילאָסאָף

This humorous song (originally titled Dos Gute Kepl) by Velvl Zbarzher (1826(?)-1883) is a satire upon the alleged miracles performed by the Hassidic rabbis. The song was first heard during the Haskalah period in Eastern Europe, when satirizing fanatic beliefs was in vogue. Many singers today erroneously interpret this song literally, as one that expresses the wonders of the rabbis. The song was later parodied during the 1905 revolutionary period to “go to the working man and learn wisdom from him.”

Illustration of musical notes from the books


Come here, you philosopher,
with your bird brain,
oh, come here to the Rebbe’s table
and learn some sense.


You invented a steamship
and pride yourself on that;
The Rebbe spreads his kerchief out
and walks across the ocean.

You thought up a railroad,
and think you are ingenious;
The Rebbe spits and laughs,
He needs it like a hole in the head.

So, do you know what the Rebbe does
while he sits privately?
He flies up to heaven in one minute
and eats his Sabbath meal there.

Kum aher, du filosof,
Mit dayn ketsishn moykhl,
Oy, kum aher tsum rebns tish
Un lern zikh do seykhl.

Bim-ba-bam. . .

A damfshif hostu oysgetrakht
Un nemst dermit zikh iber;
Der rebe shpreyt zayn tikhl oys
Un shpant dem yam ariber.

An ayznban hostu oysgeklert,
Un meynst du bist a khorets;
Der rebe shpet, der rebe lakht,
Er darf dos oyf kapores.

Tsi veystu den, vos der rebe tut
Beys er zitst bekhides? —
In eyn minut in himl flit
Un pravet dort shalesh sudes.

קום אַהער, דו פֿילאַסאַף,
מיט דײַן קעצישן מוחל,
קום אַהער צום רבינס טיש
און לערן זיך דאָ שׂכל.

רעפֿרײן: בים־בא־באַם. . .

אַ דאַמפֿשיף האָסטו אױסגעטראַכט
און נעמסט דערמיט זיך איבער;
דער רבי שפּרײט זײַן טיכל אױס
און שפּאַנט דעם ים אַריבער.

אַן אײַזנבאַן האָסטו אױסגעקלערט,
און מײנסט דו ביסט אַ חרוץ;
דער רבי שפּעט, דער רבי לאכט,
ער דאַרף דאָס אױף כּפּרות.

צי װײסטו דען, װאָס דער רבי טוט
בעת ער זיצט ביחידות? —
אין אײן מינוט אין הימל פֿליט,
און פּראַװעט דאָרט שלוש סעודות.

Song Title: Der Filosof

Composer: Velvl Zbarzher
Composer’s Yiddish Name: װעלװל זבאַרזשער
Lyricist: Velvl Zbarzher
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: װעלװל זבאַרזשער
Time Period:19th century

This Song is Part of a Collection

Mir Trogn Song Book Cover with Illustrations

Mir Trogn A Gezang: Favorite Yiddish Songs

First published in 1972, Mir Trogn A Gezang: Favorite Yiddish Songs was reprinted six more times (in 1977, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2000) due to popular demand. The songs in this anthology represent a sampling of beloved folk and well-known Yiddish songs, many of which are scattered in various song collections; some appear in very rare and inaccessible collections; and some were never before published. Folk songs comprise about a third of this volume and were selected mainly on the basis of popularity and sometimes for their historic significance. Needless to say, they are only representative of the vast, rich treasure of Yiddish folk material. The selection was made not only on the basis of personal preference, but in the knowledge they are favorites of many who sing these songs. Most of the songs represent the repertoire that was sung at Yiddish summer camps, May 1st demonstrations and at social gatherings. Many songs were introduced to American Jewry by Jewish immigrants who came to the United States after World War II, for whom these songs had been favorites in Poland and other East European communities destroyed by the Nazis.

Browse the Collection
Enter your email to download free sheet music for ​Der Filosof