Where did the popular tune for the Yom Kippur piyyut, מראה כהן, come from? Who wrote it? When did it originate? Where is it from? Does the tune have a name other than "that marei kohen tune"?

Note I'm asking for the music, not the words of the piyyut.


2 Answers 2


I was a little boy at home when my father Yigal Calek ny"v composed Mareh Cohen - there's a very interesting 'composer's inspiration' story to go with it too... Anyway, so yes, pretty much "at the source" ;)

  • 5
    Yoel Calek, thank you for this answer which is a primary source indeed! I look forward to seeing you around.
    – Double AA
    Dec 6, 2012 at 5:30
  • 8
    care to share the story on a public forum? I'd be fascinated! Dec 6, 2012 at 16:06
  • It's a catchy tune. But, I sometimes get annoyed when I see people almost dancing to it on Yom Kippur. I think there's a limit to the simcha.
    – DanF
    Aug 27, 2018 at 20:35

After a bit more searching, it looks like Yigal Calek of the London School of Jewish Song may be the original composer as late as 1971.

  • I didn't log in to the second link and listen to the tune. Did you confirm that it is the same one?
    – Menachem
    Aug 10, 2012 at 1:18
  • @Menachem no, but the first calls it the "Yigal Calek" niggun. I assumed he only did one version, but I could be wrong. Aug 10, 2012 at 15:12
  • 4
    This is a youtube video of a chazzan performing a medley of Yigal Calek tunes. At 4:07, he begins Mareh Kohen.
    – Fred
    Sep 24, 2012 at 1:54

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