B’shert is a Yiddish term meaning “fate”, or “it was meant to be”, frequently used when boy meets girl. At a time when Robin and I were going through a rocky stretch, I wrote this song and first sang it for her on Valentine’s Day. She was at the time in a singing duo called B’shert which contributed a little to our difficulties. The song accomplished two perhaps contradictory objectives. First, it allowed me to reclaim the concept, that Robin and I were meant to be as opposed to her and her singing partner; and second, it underscored that I did support and believe in what she was doing artistically. That mutual artistic respect has been the bedrock of our relationship. The second verse is from the teaching of the Baal Shem Tov.
When Robin and I first were courting, we wrote each other songs. This was mine for her and it incorporates a golf reference (Robin’s family are all golfers) and a phrase from a story she told me. The music I had been playing on my guitar for years and I finally found the lyrics through her. Interestingly enough, we each wrote a second song for each other in the years following, and I think those second songs were less generic and more solidly connected to who we were. I guess the communication got better. My second song is B’shert, also included here.
In the mid ’90s, Robin invited me to join a women’s study group at her temple. I was the only man there. The idea was to try to put a more positive spin on how women were portrayed in biblical stories. I was so blown away by how smart these ladies were, that group became my muse, my inspiration for this song, another song about Sarah, and two full length plays. I was particularly taken with the concept of midrash, reading between the lines of or adding interlineations to the often sparse and obscure writing in the bible. I included two in this song, Sarah following Abraham and Isaac and bringing the ram, and Abraham extracting from God the promise that he would give humans a shot at forgiveness in exchange for the ordeal God had put him through. Incidentally, both songs are written as if sung by a woman. That helped enormously.