Zol Zayn

What If
זאָל זײַן

Text and melody by I. Papernikov, written in the early 1920’s. In his book Heymishe un Noente (Tel Aviv, 1958), the author describes how he composed the melody to the poem. He notes that he only wrote two stanzas; a third stanza that appears in some publications was added by the singer, Vitalina.

Illustration of musical notes from the books


Suppose I am building castles in the air,
suppose my God does not exist at all,
in a dream it is brighter and better for me,
in a dream the sky is bluer than blue.

Suppose I will never reach my goal,
suppose my ship will never reach the shore,
it doesn’t matter to me if I didn’t succeed,
all that matters is to travel on a sunny road.

Zol zayn, az ikh boy in der luft mayne shleser,
Zol zayn, az mayn got iz in gantsn nito,
In troym iz mir heler, in troym iz mir beser,
In kholem der himl iz bloyer fun blo.

Zol zayn, az kh’vel keyn mol tsum tsil nit derlangen,
Zol zayn, az mayn shif vet nit kumen tsum breg,
Mir geyt nit in dem, ikh zol hobn dergangen,
Mir geyt nor in gang oyf a zunikn veg.

זאָל זײַן, אַז איך בױ אין דער לופֿט מײַנע שלעסער,
זאָל זײַן, אַז מײַן גאָט איז אין גאַנצן ניטאָ,
אין טרױם איז מיר העלער, אין טרױם איז מיר בעסער,
אין חלום דער הימל איז בלױער פֿון בלאָ.

זאָל זײַן, אַז כ’װעל קײן מאָל צום ציל ניט דערלאַנגען,
זאָל זײַן, אַז מײַן שיף װעט ניט קומען צום ברעג,
מיר גײט ניט אין דעם, איך זאָל האָבן דערגאַנגען,
מיר גײט נאָר אין גאַנג אױף אַ זוניקן װעג.

Song Title: Zol Zayn

Composer: I. Papernikov
Composer’s Yiddish Name: יוסף פּאַפּערניקאָװ
Lyricist: I. Papernikov
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: יוסף פּאַפּערניקאָװ
Time Period:20th 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.

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