Tribute – A Scribbler on the ‘Teuch (for Marvin Wilson)

Pre-show: John Williams Fiddler on the Roof medley

Marv Wilson! – to be sung to the tune of “Tradition” (by MWS)

Intro: A Scribbler on the Teuch. Sounds crazy, no? But in our little college, every one of us needs a Scribbler on the ‘Teuch—someone to cobble together some knowledge on the Pentateuch, and share it with the world.

But knowledge doesn’t grow on trees—not anymore: remember how that turned out… We can’t just give it away for free (unless you’re Ted Hildebrandt).

No, we have to balance – making budget, and making young Christian men and women distinguished by you-know-the-rest.

Make budget—make character: on the one hand—on the other hand.
How do we do both?
I’ll tell you—SO LISTEN.

[all sing]
Tuition? – Tuition!—Marv Wilson!
Admission? – Admissions!—Marv Wilsons!

Give him mighty hair, a mantle of Harris tweed, and a chair from—Harold Ockenga.
His golden caffeine mug, mighty staff of one—aren’t the half of why his students pay.

He, all these years, while showing up on TV,
Sneaking off on field trips, claiming half the core, still
Broke records for the highest course attendance
And evaluations—how?

Magician? – Tactician?—Marv Wilson!
Politician? – Hypnotisian?—Omniscient!

Who can help the students turn a cushy life,
A gauche-er to a kosh-er life?
Shake ‘em up so they can make the most of life?
What are the steps he takes them through – to life!

Contrition! – Cognition!—(Who?) Marv Wilson!
Erudition! – Homiletician!—Lechaim!

We know to keep us solvent there are things we should avoid,
Like drops in our enrollment—even itty-bitty:

Attrition! – Eviction!—sans Wilson!
Demolition! – Debtors’ prison! – Need Wilson!

Who gushes knowledge
like the rock that Moses
struck instead of speak-ing
to (which was wrong)—and
what are the subjects
flowing from his mouth
that draw the masses forth like frogs?

Kábbalistic tradition! – Talmudic prohibition!—(Ah!) Smart Wilson!
Messianic Jewish mission! – Chalcedonian Definition!—(Oy!) Mensch Wilson!

Both! Both!
Lai lai lai lai…

Marv Wilson! Marv Wilson!—(Our) MARV WILSON!

Narrator: You know, with our Marv Wilson, our little school’s been kept in balance by… by a Scribbler on the ‘Teuch!


Testmaker – sung by a failing student to “Matchmaker” (by Jasmine Myers)

Testmaker, Testmaker
Make me a test
Throw me a bone
I’m doing my best
Testmaker, would it be so much to ask?
For once, make one I can pass!

Test failer, test failer,
Get in the game!
What’s the first blank?
Oh right! My name!
If I quote Heschel, I might swing a C,
What a miracle that would be!

Don’t worry, I’ve got all the answers
He’s taught this for many a year
In fact, I’m cheating from notes that
My mom took in this class when she was here!

Class skip-er, class skip-er,
That would be swell,
But I’m afraid I’d burn in – well,
How could I lie to those twinkly eyes?
I wish I had just …. memorized.

Cheater: What’s the big deal? You’ll never get caught.
Student: I heard he has his own Tent of Meeting in Frost Hall. I’m pretty sure he knows Moses personally. He knows everything!

Testmaker, Testmaker you know that I’d
Run out of loans
Please let it slide
When two commands clash, go with saving a life!
(Or so says the Talmud … right?)

I’m just glad that answ’ring these questions
Is not how the good Lord decides
Who to let into heaven
‘Cause only Marv Wilson would get inside!

Harsh Grader, Harsh Grader, I’m on my knees!
Have chesed on
a knucklehead, please!
This is why Jesus gave Peter the keys…

Cheater: It’s Y’shua
Student: Will I lose points for that, too-ah?

So say there’s a way
I’ll study lots
Ev-e-ry day –
– except on Shabbat!
So maybe one day I’ll pass!


If I Weren’t Marv Wilson – sung by “Marv” to “If I Were a Rich Man” (by Carl Schultz)

Dear God, you made many, many professors
I realize, of course, everyone needs professors
But it’s a whole lot of work
So would it have been so terrible if I had a different vocation?

If I weren’t Marv Wilson,
Daidle deedle daidle
Daidle daidle deedle daidle dumb

If I did not dedicate my life
To the Testament that no one likes (What?!)
Could’ve been a lifeguard
Or a farmer, or a shepherd,
A trombonist might be fun
If I were an archeologist,
Or a dentist or a fireman

I would not have to be grading all through the night
And lecturing all throughout the day
Printing essays and syllabi by the ream.
There’d be no teaching students how to pronounce
Names that are very hard to say
Haggai and Chushanrishathaim             (*kew-shan-rish-u-thayeem)

I wouldn’t have to explain Mosaic law
Or list all my favorite Hebrew kings,
Dissecting topics of academic heft,
And every pa-pa-geeee! pa-pa-gaack! pa-pa-geeee! pa-pa-gaack!
As students are packing up their things,
Even though there’s still five minutes left.

If I weren’t Marv Wilson
Daidle deedle daidle
Daidle daidle deedle daidle dumb

All day long I’d biddy-biddy-bum
With a different career plan
Could work in a shipyard,
Or in movies, or in fashion
Or in chocolate, or in gum
If I were a slightly diff-e-rent,
Daidle deedle daidle daidle man.

I could be running like Jonah,
Off to a seaside spot
With an Adriatic view,
Or living like Elijah in a cave
I could be eating huge grapes
Like Joshua in Canaan,
Oh there’s so many things to do
Possibly I’d even start to shave [strokes beard] Nah…

There’d be no students at my door were I not faculty
They would not ask me for extensions,
Nor would they ask me to advise
“If you please, Marv Wilson?”
“Pardon me, Marv Wilson?”
Giving all the excuses they can devise

Ya va voy, ya va voy voy vum

And because I am their professor
And Old Testament is Core
To graduate they have to go through me

But if I weren’t, I’d never have had the chance
To take students to the Holy Land
Never would have kept a whole room engrossed,
And I’d have missed so many delightful discussions
With my colleagues and my friends
That is what I think I’d miss the most

If I weren’t Marv Wilson,
Daidle deedle daidle
Daidle daidle deedle daidle dumb
All day long I’d biddy-biddy-bum
If I were not at Gordon. Hey!

Wouldn’t have to work hard,
Daidle deedle daidle
Daidle daidle deedle daidle dumb

Lord who made Brandeis and Barrington,
Looking back on all that I have done
I’ll admit it’s been a lot of fun
Just — to be a Marv Wilson.


Some Guy’s Subjects – sung by Marv’s envious colleagues to “Sunrise, Sunset” (by MWS)

1. [show Our Father, Abraham]
This is the weighty tome I’ve envied,
Written with scholarly aplomb.
Few authors rise to fame & fortune;
Marv Will—some.

How’d he turn Judges into wages?
How’d he turn Job into a job?
Eerdmans has made him an OT

Some guy’s – subjects:
Sinai. Shabbats,
Sweeping up the praise:
Parlaying Middle Eastern conflicts
Into a Marvin Wilson craze…

One guy’s – projects:
Rabbis. Prophets,
Fifty-something years:
One chapter bettering another,
Leading to Globetrotters and cheers.

2. What are the lessons he embodies
like a Marv Wilson-y Talmud?
He says that ‘work’ is wed to ‘worship’—
when Hebrewed…

How many students has he goaded
Into a happy avodah?
Must he retire his divine

One wise – pundit.
Winding down, yet—
His influence stays:
Bright’ning the multitudes like sunrise
Coaxes the darkness into day.

One guy’s projects:
Young intellects
Tended through the years—
Taking his mantle up at sunset,
Laden with happiness — and tears.


Blessing/Benediction – sung to “Sabbath Prayer”

May our Father bless and commend you
May to you He lift up His face
May your labors be
The instruments of godly grace

May He be your roof and your shelter
May He be your watchword and stay
Fasten them, O Lord
And seal them to your heart always


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