Rivkele Di Shabesdike

Rifkele the Sabbath One
רבֿקהלע די שבתדיקע

This song was inspired by the tragic occurrence in the Bialystok ghetto on the Sabbath of July 12,1942 when 5,000 Jews were shot by the Germans. Women whose husbands were killed on that Sabbath day were called “shabesdike” (the Sabbath ones). Words are by Peysakh Kaplan (1870- 1943), writer, composer, music critic, editor of the Yiddish daily Dos naye lebn in Bialystok before the war. He died in the Bialystok ghetto in 1943. Composer unknown.

Illustration of musical notes from the books


Rivkele, the Sabbath one,
In a factory toils,
Twists a strand into a strand,
Weaves a braided coil.
Oh, the gloomy ghetto
Stands there much too long.
And her heart with so much pain,
Rueful, so forlorn.

Her devoted Hershele
Gone, has gone away.
Since that fateful Saturday.
Since that time, that day
Sits in mourning Rivkele,
Mourns day and night,
Turns the wheel of her machine,
Thinking of her plight:

Where is he, my darling one,
Does he still live, where?
In the concentration camp
Is he slaving there?
Oh how dreadful is his lot,
How horrible is mine –
Since that fateful Saturday,
Since that day, that time.

Rivkele di shabesdike
Arbet in fabrik,
Dreyt a fodem tsu a fodem,
Flekht tsunoyf a shtrik.
Oy, di geto fintstere,
Doyert shoyn tsu lang.
Un dos harts azoy farklemt
Tut ir azoy bang.

Ir getrayer Hershele
lz avek, nito,
Zint fun yedem shabes on,
Zint fun yener sho.
lz fartroyert Rivkele,
Yomert tog un nakht.
Un atsind bayn redele
Zitst zi un zi trakht:

Vu iz er, mayn libinker,
Lebt er nokh khotsh vu?
Tsi in kontsentratsye-lager
Arbet shver on ru?
Oy, vi fintster iz im dort,
Biter iz mir do-
Zint fun yenem shabes on,
Zint fun yener sho.

רבֿקהלע די שבתדיקע
אַרבעט אין פֿאַבריק,
דרײט אַ פֿאָדעם צו אַ פֿאָדעם,
פֿלעכט צונױף אַ שטריק.
אױ די געטאָ פֿינצטערע,
דױערט שױן צו לאַנג,
און דאָס האַרץ אַזױ פֿאַרקלעמט,
טוט איר אַזױ באַנג.

איר געטרײַער הערשעלע
איז אַװעק, ניטאָ,
זינט פֿון יענעם שבת אָן,
זינט פֿון יענער שעה.
איז פֿאַרטרױערט רבֿקהלע,
יאָמערט טאָג און נאַכט,
און אַצינד בײַם רעדעלע,
זיצט זי און זי טראַכט:

װוּ איז ער, מײַן ליבינקער,
לעבט ער נאָך כאָטש װוּ?
צי אין קאָצענטראַציע־לאַגער
אַרבעט שװער אָן רו?
אױ, װי פֿינצטער איז אים דאָרט,
ביטער איז מיר דאָ —
זינט פֿון יענעם שבת אָן,
זינט פֿון יענער שעה.

Song Title: Rivkele Di Shabesdike

Composer: Unknown
Composer’s Yiddish Name: Unknown
Lyricist: Peysakh Kaplan
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: פּסח קאַפּלאַן
Time Period: Unspecified

This Song is Part of a Collection

We Are Here Book Cover with Illustrations of a red rising sun

We Are Here: Songs of the Holocaust

Compiled by sisters Malke Gottleib and Chana Mlotek, this collection of 40 songs, issued on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, reflects the suffering, despair, longing, as well as the strength, hope and courage that led the last remnant of enfeebled Jews to take up arms against the mammoth Nazi war-machine. Save for five songs, this compilation comprises songs that were actually written or sung in the ghettos and concentration camps. Four exceptions written after the war: “Babi Yar,” “Moyshelekh un Shloymelekh,” “Kadish,” and “Mayn mame hot gevolt zayn oyf mayn khasene” are often presented at commemorative gatherings and were therefore included. The fifth song “Am Yisroel Khay” was written in a D.P. camp and is an affirmation of the will of the survivors to build new lives for themselves, holding high their belief in the endurance of the Jewish people. To enable readers and singers not conversant with the Yiddish alphabet to utilize this collection, We Are Here! Songs of the Holocaust provides parallel transliterations and singable English translations by Roslyn Bresnick Perry.

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