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Went down to the ocean just the other day

Listened for what the sea and sky had to say

The breeze was a caress and the sun was in my eyes

The summer temperature was beginning to rise

The storm from the day before was just a memory

The lashing rain and thunder were by then history

And then out of nowhere came the word

With a force so undeniable—this is what I heard:

This is the time

The time of the season

This is the time

The season for completion

This is the time

The completion of the overdue

This is the time

It’s overdue but you’ll see it through

Cruising through the atmosphere way above the clouds

Far from the rat race and the madding city crowds

The earth far below me, above me just space

Held aloft by physics and a dose of divine grace

The biggest spiritual magnet pulling me to the east

Not by might, not by power, not by the politics of false peace

But rather by a force much greater than us all

And all around me on that flight I heard its voice call

This is the time

The time for new horizons

This is the time

Bear is bull and bull is bison

This is the time

The present, not the future

This is the time

The time to silence the accuser

Walked through the Old City just the other night

Heard that voice calling, Do you see the light?!

The rising of the truth comes like the morning star

All the false prophets will be shown for what they are

Don’t let the lies and propaganda wear you down

Your blinded brothers and sisters will eventually come around

Your mind has been poisoned living in exile for so long

Your resolve has been weakened, now it’s time to be strong

This is the time

For salvation and redemption

This is the time

No exception or exemption

This is the time

For returning to the land now

This is the time

The world is in your hands now

This is the time

The time for fulfillment

This is the time

The potential is so brilliant

This is the time

For many centuries you wished it

This is the time

Now it’s yours, don’t you miss it

©2017 The Hesh Inc.

747 flying home
Cruising through the atmosphere way above the clouds ... The biggest spiritual magnet pulling me to the east.

The genesis of this song was in 1982 or thereabouts, when I had just transferred to a new yeshiva high school in Jerusalem from the dump I had previously attended in Rehovot. There was a lot of optimism in my life—I was away from home for the first time, I was flexing my creative and self-expressive muscle for the first time, I was meeting new friends—it was generally a very good time for me.

Being in yeshiva in Jerusalem was a singular experience. I felt myself closer to the beating heart of Judaism and the Jewish people, and its force could not be denied. Add to that all the religious-Zionist messianic fervor I was getting in school and in my neighborhood (Kiryat Moshe, home to two of the main bastions of religious Zionism—Mercaz Harav and Machon Meir), and it was easy to feel like the long awaited Redemption could happen at any moment.

One of my new friends was drummer and fellow Blues Brothers enthusiast Izzy Kieffer, who would turn out to be one of my best and most lasting friends and musical partners. Not long after we met, once the school year began in earnest, we set about the business of forming our first band and coming up with material for it. The original kernel of the idea for this song began then, as a sort of funk/r&b riff with humorous lyrics about one of the local characters we had met in town turning out to be none other than the Messiah. We never quite finished the song, so we never performed it.

(It might be worth mentioning that the song title has nothing to do with Billy Joel's song of the same name, which was released four years after Izzy and I wrote ours. Izzy probably got the title from an Israeli television show of the era, Zeh HaZman, which means "this is the time.")

Fast forward now to the era immediately following 9-11, with the situation in the world and especially in Israel very much on my mind. I finally took it upon myself to finish the song, but in a different direction than it had originally been envisioned. The r&b/funk thing was pared down to a more straightforward rock thing, and rather than the humorous scenario in the original lyric idea, this was a positive exhortation to my people to seize the moment and do what we can to bring the Redemption.

"This Is the Time" was the first song committed to digital when I began laying down tracks for my album Soul in Exile 2: Jersey Shore Baby in 2002, with Yonah Lloyd on guitar, Steve Lopresto on bass, and Chimene Petitt, Wendy Horn, and Christine Ghilino (of my late-1990s band, Polyester) on backing vocals. A few more tweakings of the lyric (not shown above) made it a little more universal, appealing not strictly to my tribe but to all good-hearted people of a spiritual bent who want to see the world repaired, and that became the version that was released on the album.

However, the version with the original lyrics was recorded too, and it appears here.

May we see the final redemption soon, whether in Jerusalem or in Asbury Park, and throughout the whole world.


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