"Born in Chains" by Leonard Cohen

Haggadah Section: Maggid - Beginning

I was born in chains but I was taken out of Egypt
I was bound to a burden, but the burden it was raised
Oh Lord I can no longer keep this secret
Blessed is the name, the name be praised.

I fled to the edge of a mighty sea of sorrow
Pursued by the armies of a cruel and dark regime
But the waters parted and my soul crossed over
Out of Egypt, out of Pharaoh’s dream.

Word of words and the measure of all measures
Blessed is the name, the name be blessed
Written on my heart in burning letters
That’s all I know, I do not know the rest

I was idled with my soul, when I heard that you could use me
I followed very closely, but my life remained the same
But then you showed me where you had been wounded
In every atom spoken is the name

I was lost on the road, your love was so confusing
And all the teachers told me that I had myself to blame
But in the arms? stands? the? illusion
The sweet unknowing unifies the name

Word of words, and the measure of all measures
Blessed is the name, the name be blessed
Written on my heart in burning letters
That’s all I know, I cannot read the rest

I heard the soul unfolds in the chambers of this longing
As the bitter liquor sweetens in the amber cup
Ah but all the ladders of the night have fallen
Just darkness now, to lift the longing up.

Word of words and measure of all measures
Blessed is the name, the name be blessed
Written on my heart in burning letters
That’s all I know, I cannot read the rest

Just darkness now, to lift the spirit up

“We all live lives that are tethered to the circumstances in which we find ourselves, so in a certain sense everyone is born in chains. There are moments of liberation and moments of captivity. Life seems to move between those two polarities.” (Leonard Cohen, 2014).

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