Thanks to enthusiastic students over the years, this Sukkaleh song has become a true Shabbos House favorite, sung every night in the Sukkah, and on other nights of the year as well. This rhyming translation adaption (it is true to the song but is not a literal translation) into English from the old original Yiddish was done by Rabbi Israel Rubin, founder of Shabbos House in 1976, regional director of Capital Chabad Centers. and dean of the Maimonides School in Albany NY.
My Sukkahleh is small, not fancy at all
but is especially dear to me.
Schach I put on a bit, hoping to cover it,
there I’d sit and think. (2x)
The wind was a cold one,
the cracked walls were old ones,
the candles were flickering low.
At times as if dying, but suddenly rising,
as if they did not want to go. (2x)
My sweet little daughter
sensing the danger,
got scared and started to cry.
“Father,” she cried,
“Don’t stay there outside
the Sukkah is going to fall!” (2)
Fear not my child, its been quite a while
the Sukkahleh still stands strong.
The wind has been worse my dear,
but its almost two thousand years
yet the Sukkahleh still stands strong! (2x)
Obviously, the Sukkah is a metaphor for the Jewish people, the winds over 2,000 years are the persecutions and challenges of the diaspora. We sing this sung with gusto even when sitting in the well-built, large and sturdy Sukkah of the new Shabbos House, because the message and inspiration rings true and hits home.
Yiddish original to be posted soon.
Rabbi Galperin remembers this Niggun sung by his parents and grandparents in their Sukkah in Russia, and there’s a heartwarming story of friendship how his grandfather, the legendary Chassid Yankel Zuravitzer sang this Niggun with his friend Peretz Motzkin in Simferopel. See that story told here on Chabad.org.