‘Sunrise Sunset’

I open my e-mail to find a YouTube posting from my friend, Lois Gilbert.

Attached in the e-mail is Lois’ harmonica rendition of ‘Sunrise Sunset.’

Lois’ better half, Vincent LaVorgna, creates her YouTube video collages to accompany her music.

I play the video, I listen to the music and I cry.

Yes, this 73-year-old man still sheds a tear when he listens to or mouths the words to or sings ‘Sunrise Sunset.’

For I do know all of Sheldon Harnick’s lyrics by heart.

For I do remember the wedding scene in Fiddler on the Roof as if I watched the movie last night:

The sun is setting;

The shtetl streets are almost dark, as the town folks and the wedding party, holding lit candles, silently move in a procession  toward the synagogue:

They are accompanied by the music of a wedding band—a violin, a clarinet and a drum;

In the temple, now lit by candlelight, the bespectacled groom wears a black suit and a black top hat;

His bride is dressed in a soft white gown and a white veil covers her face;

They stand in awe—looking at each other—under a large white chuppah or wedding canopy;

They sip some red wine from a crystal glass;

The groom crushes the wine glass with his right foot;

And as the attendees hear the glass splinter, they shout ‘mazel tov’;

I recall Tevya crying as the cast sings the refrain.

Sunrise, sunset,
Swiftly flow the days.
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers,
Blossoming even as we gaze.

For even as a teen, when I first heard those lyrics resonating from the Broadway stage, I knew that one day, if I was lucky, I would listen to them sung at my wedding and my children’s/grandchildren’s bar mitzvah parties and at their weddings.

Well, I’ve been lucky.

For I’ve seen my fair share of sunrises and sunsets.

Sunrise, sunset ,
Swiftly fly the years,
One season following another,
Laden with happiness and tears.
What words of wisdom can I give them,
How can I help to ease their way?

Yes, my seasons have swiftly flown away.

Yes, my years have been laden with happiness and tears.

And yes, in the sunset of my life, I have a few words of wisdom:

Watch as many sunrises and sunsets as possible;

Ride your crests of happiness knowing that one day your waves will crash and turn into a rivers of tears;

Enjoy listening to Fiddler’s ‘Sunrise Sunset’;

In its honor, cry a few tears, for only you understand your

happiness and sorrow.


I hope you enjoy Lois’ rendition of ‘Sunrise Sunset’ and Vincent’s electronic collage.

And may you be blessed with a life filled with more joy than sorrow.

About the Author
Florida's Jewish short-story writer, speaker, film producer and retired attorney. He has authored, "A Hebraic Obsession", "The Hanukkah Bunny" and "The Greatest Gift." He produced an award-winning short film entitled, "The Stairs". Movie can be viewed on my TOI blog. Mort was a correspondent for the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel Jewish Journal. He has recently taken on the post of president of the South Florida Writers Association.
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