Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Gaza: Every breath cries out “Stop!”

Violence escalates in Gaza. The military do their stuff, short term relief that aggravates the long-term problem. Gandhi was right — an eye for an eye and everyone ends up blind. Meanwhile the weak, the poor, the vulnerable become roadkill. What is there to say?

You may not have been following the Israeli charts, so here is Sarit Hadad singing Shema’ Israel — the title recalls the ancient words of the daily foundational prayer, the Shema’ (Dt 6:4) — When the heart shuts up, every breath cries out, make it stop...
video
and the words, vocalised and translated by John Hobbins:

When the heart is crying only God hears
the pain rises from within one’s breath
a man falls before he goes under
with a short prayer, he cuts the silence

Hear Israel, my God, you can do all
you gave me my life, you gave me all
in my eyes a tear, silently the heart cries
when the heart shuts up, one’s breath cries out

Hear Israel, my God, I am now alone
make me strong, my God, so I won't fear
the pain is great, there's nowh
ere to flee
make it end, no strength is left in me

When the heart is crying, time stops moving
in an inkling a man sees his whole life pass
to the unknown he does not want to go
to his God he calls, on the edge of the abyss.

When the heart is crying only God hears
the pain rises from within one’s breath
a man falls before he goes under
with a short prayer, he cuts the silence

Hear Israel, my God, you can do all
you gave me my life, you gave me all
in my eyes a tear, silently the heart cries
when the heart shuts up, one’s breath cries out

When the heart is crying only God hears
the pain rises from within one’s breath
a man falls before he goes under
with a short prayer, he cuts the silence

Hear Israel, my God, you can do all
you gave me my life, you gave me all
in my eyes a tear, silently the heart cries
when the heart shuts up, one’s breath cries out

כְּשֶׁהַלֵּב בּוֹכֶה רַק אֱלוֹהִים שׁוֹמֵעַ

הַכְּאֵב עוֹלֶה מִתּוֹךְ הַנְּשָׁמָה

אָדָם נוֹפֵל לִפְנֵי שֶׁהוּא שׁוֹקֵעַ

בִּתְפִילָה קְטַנָּה חוֹתֵךְ אֶת הַדְּמָמָה.

שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל אֱלוֹהַי אַתָּה הַכֹּל יָכוֹל

נָתַתָּ לִי אֶת חַיַי נָתַתָּ לִי הַכֹּל

בְּעֵינַי דִּמְעָה הַלֵּב בּוֹכֶה בְּשֶׁקֶט
וּכְשֶׁהַלֵּב שׁוֹתֵק הַנְּשָׁמָה זוֹעֶקֶת.

שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל אֱלוֹהַי עַכְשָׁיו אֲנִי לְבַד

חַזֵּק אוֹתִי אֱלוֹהַי עֲשֵׂה שֶׁלֹּא אֶפְחַד

הַכְּאֵב גָּדוֹל וְאֵין לְאָן לִבְרוֹחַ

עֲשֵׂה שֶׁיִּגָּמֵר כִּי לֹא נוֹתַר בִּי כֹּחַ

כְּשֶׁהַלֵּב בּוֹכֶה הַזְּמָן עוֹמֵד מִלֶּכֶת

הָאָדָם רוֹאֶה אֶת כֹּל חַיָּיו פִּתְאוֹם

אֶל הַלֹּא נוֹדַע הוּא לֹא רוֹצֶה לָלֶכֶת

לֵאלוֹהָיו קוֹרֵא עַל סַף תְּהוֹם

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am unconvinced of the theology and ethics.... The original calls on Israel to recognise but One God, this song calls on my God to hear the pain of Israel. Is that OK? Perhaps one repeat could have said shema' Gaza....
Francis Miles

Bishop Alan Wilson said...

Francis, I'm sure you're right this works on an emotional rather than hard headed level. What interested me about it particularly was the psalm-like quality of the words. I would say it indicates a gulf between Israeli and English teenage tastes, but then Hallelujah has been top of the pops here for the past month...

Anonymous said...

Yes, but I was concerned on two levels. it may be emotionally powerful exactly because it echoes the central creed of Judaism, but it is subverting the creed so that God does not call Israel to hear, but Israel asks "my God" to hear...Israels pain. Secondly, where is the mention of anyone else's pain?
Sorry to be pedantic. It is interesting and powerful. ps I really like your blog site. thank you.

Francis

Bishop Alan Wilson said...

Ive been thinking about your comment the other day, and I think you're absolutely on the button. The movement is in the wrong direction — not "what does your God require of you, O Israel?" but "what do we feel we need from God." Thanks so much for bringing in this whole dimension. I is the one that matters...

Anonymous said...

to francis Miles & Bishop Alan,

Shma Yisrael in fact means 'Hear o Israel' so the song doesn't say God hear the pain of Israel, but it rather is a call for the Israeli's to turn to G'd with their pain, their needs etc. The word 'neshama'translated as breath, in Hebrew in fact means soul or innermost silent speech.

(When G'd breaths life into Adam the translation in Hebrew reads Neshama for life)

So one may interpret this song as stated above in your comments. But one can also interpret it as a call to the Israelies to turn to G'd with everything within them. Especially as the 'Shma' is said daily several times in as well the morning as evening prayer.

In the Bible, when the ten commandments are given there are numberous of different laws in deuteronomy, but before they are given it says 'Hear O Israel, the Lord our G'd, the Lord is one, you shall love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul & all your might. These words which I am ordering you to do are to be on your heart. You are to speak about them over & over again to your children, wether at home, or on your way, wether you wake up or go to sleep. You are to bind them around your arm & as a sign of rememberance between your eyes and on the door-frames of your house and on your gates.' (sorry if the translation is not what is known to you but I had to translate from Dutch to English)

The words 'Hear O Israel' are a call to do everything G'd has ordered us to do. In fact, these words are the answer Jesus gives in Marc 12: 29 when the pharisees ask Jesus what the most important commandment is...

About the song itself, it was released in 2001 already on the album 'Ashlajot metukot,' long before Gaza war started, but when rockets were already fired daily at Israel from Gaza strip...

Dan

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