Sunday, September 18, 2005


I've recently been granted the dubious honor of having one of Godol Hador's songs named after me. I understand that it's a really big deal, and I should be more appreciative, but I'm actually pretty disappointed. The lyrics are really not that apt for who I am or how I feel.

However, walking along the street the other day, a long forgotten song came on the radio, one which I hadn't heard in years, but which brought back vivid memories of when I was first introduced to it. Even more surprisingly, as I listened to the lyrics, I couldn't help noticing the words moving me in a most powerful and deep way. Much more than GH's Daashedyotian Rhapsody ever did. I figured that I should share this song with you to give a more accurate depiction of what a song that should have my name on it would be like.

I remember that when I had first encountered this song, I had been unsuccessfully attempting to dissuade my friend from making me listen to it. He was insisting it was the most brilliant masterpiece of all time, but from my vantage point the song was from a particularly "unkosher" group and I did not believe it was at all possible for anything they produced to have any sort of redeeming value.

Eventually he prevailed, and I sat down with his discman to hear the wisdom of Metallica. As the song began with it's slow and somber melody I admitted to myself that it was actually quite enjoyable. Had I misjudged it after all? But suddenly I was jarred from my reverie as the delicate notes were replaced with a crash of cymbals and a loud, angry, shouting vocalist. I was right after all! This was crude, unrefined noise, not worthy of being called music!

But as I began to make out the words, I slowly realized that my initial dismissive assessment really was quite premature. This song was expressing something very real, and very painful. The lyrics alternated between anger & accusation and sadness & longing. It was very raw. And I understood well how my friend could feel that the song was all about him. As poetry so often does, it was expressing what was in his heart, better than he could ever hope to.

I never thought much about that song after that. Although I recognized that it spoke meaningfully to a whole group of people who strongly identified with it, I never considered how it related to me.

But hearing it the other day I realized how amazingly powerful and true that song is. I probably dismissed it so easily back then because I was unaware just how relevant it was to me. Or maybe I knew but was afraid to admit it. Either way, now I understood it's meaning and the revelation was bringing tears to my eyes.

The song isn't an entirely accurate portrayal of how I feel about things (both in the past and the present). However, there are parts in it that are so dead-on that it truly is a masterpiece. I just hope you don't get the wrong idea from certain parts. (I'd like to believe that I'm not a bitter old man.) I strongly recommend that you listen to the original song, rather than just read the lyrics, but in the meantime, I present to you, The Unforgiven:

New blood joins this earth
And quickly he's subdued
Through constant pain disgrace
The young boy learns their rules

With time the child draws in
This whipping boy done wrong
Deprived of all his thoughts
The young man struggles on and on he's known
A vow unto his own
That never from this day
His will they'll take away

What I've felt
What I've known
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never be
Never see
Won't see what might have been

What I've felt
What I've known
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never free
Never me
So I dub thee unforgiven

They dedicate their lives
To running all of his
He tries to please them all
This bitter man he is
Throughout his life the same
He's battled constantly
This fight he cannot win
A tired man they see no longer cares
The old man then prepares
To die regretfully
That old man here is me

What I've felt
What I've known
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never be
Never see
Won't see what might have been

What I've felt
What I've known
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never free
Never me
So I dub thee unforgiven

You labeled me
I'll label you
So I dub thee unforgiven


Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

I hadn't yet started listening to music (not for religious, but for uncoolness reasons) in time to catch that song, but i had started by the time Unforgiven II came out. The first Metallica song i ever heard (thanks to my cousin), which broke me out of my parents' Oldies And Easy-Listening musical mold, was Until It Sleeps. And then during my 'stereotypically depressed teenager' high school days, i was a big fan of Nothing Else Matters. Although i think possibly my favorite Metallica song of all time is The Memory Remains. Those Marianne Faithfull vocals are just so haunting. That song is probably what pushed me towards the beautifully contrastive rough/soft hard/melodic singing/speaking fusion of rock-rap bands like Linkin Park.

WBS said...

Would you believe I wasn't a Metallica fan until 2000! Well, it's true. Unforgiven is one of my favorite songs.

The Rabbi's Kid said...


I love that song, but I think "one" and "sanitarium" are their best songs, though not forgetting "creeping death" - a must for every seder table. And they rock live!


The Hedyot said...

I have to admit, I never heard any of these other songs that you guys are suggesting. But now that I know, I'm going to check them out right away.

RuchniGashmi said...

One and Sanitarium are my all time favorie songs ever written. Hedyot, no joke- Unforgiven was my theme song that got me out of the Yeshiva world and into Chassidik philosophy. I now live in an eclectic state combining Halacha, Carlebachian-Hasidic spirituality and Metallica! Go figure!

Anonymous said...

I preferred DassHedyotian Rhapsody. Queen vs. Metallica? It's no contest!

Mis-nagid said...

You might relate to Metallica's Trapped Under Ice.

Chana said...

That idea (about the power behind songs) relates to some of the lyrics from various songs that I remember and find myself humming or thinking about in various situations.

'Numb' by Linkin Park is one of them:

become so numb
i can't feel you there
become so tired
so much more aware
i'm becoming this
all i want to do
is be more like me
and be less like you

can't you see that you're smothering me
holding too tightly
afraid to lose control
cause everything that you thought i would be
has fallen apart right in front of you"

This idea applies to so many people I know- the smothering, the holding, the trying to keep people from their growth and their minds.

And then, a different song that I really love is Let Me Fall by Josh Groban. Amazing.

Anonymous said...

That song is me, perfectly, unfortunately.

ADDeRabbi said...

i love unforgiven. also 'sad but true' i found to be good mussar.