The Dudele of Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev

One approach to addressing the Divine was offered by Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, a Hasidic rebbe in the second generation of followers of the Baal Shem Tov. He offered his theology in the form of a song, known as a dudele (from the Yiddish word du for “you”). Levi Yitzchak presents us a way of looking at the world through the eyes of the teaching “Everything is God and nothing but God.” And in doing so, he personalizes the experience of mindfulness.

The dudele is originally written in Yiddish; the translation below is mine. It stays close to the text, except for the beginning and the end. The opening address to God, Riboyno shel oylom, literally means “Master of the world,” but I replaced it with the metaphor I have been using in this book. I also added the last three stanzas to include formal mindfulness practice experiences. Here is a recorded version of the dudele:

The Dudele of Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev

Riboyno shel oylom (3x)

Ich vil dir a dudele zingen:

Du du du du du

Holy Being of the World (3x)

I want to sing a dudele for You

Du du du du, You You You You

Where shall I seek You?

And where shall I not seek You?

Where can I find You?

And where can I not find You?

Du du du du, You You You You

If I go, You, if I stay, You

Only You, always You

Here You, there You

Du du du du, You You You You

Az iz gut, du,

choliloh shlect oich, du

When it’s good, You

Forfend sorrow, You

Du du du du, You You You You

Tingle You, pressure You

Warm You, cold You

Du du du du, You You You You

Judgment You, Hesed You

Pleasant You, unpleasant You

Du du du du, You You You You

Walking You, sitting You

Standing You, eating You

Du du du du, You You You You

Praise You, blame You

Fame You, ill repute You

Du du du du, You You You You

 

Here is the talk Jeff gave at a Three Week Retreat in 2014, which includes the Dudele.

 

You Are Love (Rabbi Jeff Roth)

Jeff starts by talking about Moses at the Burning Bush, and how God teaches us to live in the here and now. Jeff looks at talking directly to God, and paying loving attention to each moment of life.