Psalm 27

THERE ARE EASIER PSALMS: Some ring with “HalleluYah” or feature nature’s joy in field and tree; others darker, give us short and piercing cries of the heart.

But not Psalm 27. Not this poem that Jewish tradition bids us read for fifty consecutive days each year. Here, we encounter something more nuanced: the psalm of spiritual struggle, the heart that sings and weeps, the intimate wrestling match between faith and doubt that characterizes our existence…

Psalm 27 knows our pain and our joy…It is the voice of stubborn and challenged faith…it is for the obstacles without and the obstacles within. It is whiplash, journey and mirror at once…May the ancient psalm that plumbs the heart open your own.


~ Rabbi David Stern, Opening Your Heart with Psalm 27, from the Foreword by Rabbi Debra J. Robbins.

Download PSALM 27 – Hebrew, Transliteration, English

Artwork: Cindy Elliot

You can listen to Psalm 27, sang by Christene Jackman posted below.

Purchase a copy at Shuv Store


Avinu Malkeinu – Yossi Azulay

El Adon - Yossi Azulay

Avinu Malkeinu – Yossi Azulay

Avinu Malkeinu is a beautiful and moving prayer recited during the High Holy days (Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur) and certain fast days throughout the Biblical Cycle. It reminds us of the searing reality that G-d is both our Father – intimate and close, and our King – sovereign in all time and all space. He is the One whom we both embrace in love and before whom we stand in awe.

Though it may seem as if Father and King stand in juxtaposition, we are reminded in the final passage from Un’taneh Tokef – a piyut (a poem) that has been a part of the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services for centuries – that:

…ush’meinu karate vishmekha – “You named us after You,” or “You have linked our name with you own.” We are small, but never untethered from the One whose presence fills the earth. We are a seed-speck upon the moon, but never insignificant. Ush’meinu karate vishmekha – somehow, our name echoes within the name of G-d – subject and sovereign, sovereign and subject – all in the call of a single breath.*

Avinu Malkeinu was said to have it’s roots during the time of Rabbi Akiva (second century CE). There was a time of drought and Rabbi Eliezer approached G-d in prayer but nothing happened. Rabbi Akiva than prayed, ” Avinu Malkeinu – Our Father, our King, we have no King but You! Our Father, our King, have mercy on us for Your sake!” And the rain fell.

Rabbi Dennis C. Sasso, tells us that “Avinu Malkeinu reminds us that the purpose of prayer is not just to find refuge and solace, but to arouse us to protest moral and social injustice, to rally against complacencies and idolatries, to consider what we stand for and to whom we are accountable.”

~ Cindy

You can listen to Avinu Malkeinu, sang by Yossi Azulay posted below.

Purchase a copy via Avinu Malkenu
consider purchasing the complete album, Prayers, Vol. 1

Download the lyrics (Hebrew, Transliteration, English) Avinu Malkeinu.

* Rabbi David Stern, The Challenge of Naming a King, as sited in Naming God: Avinu Malkeinu – Our Father, Our King by Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, PhD

Rachem – Yossi Azulay

Painting of splitting of the Red Sea copyright Lidia Kozenitzky, via wikimedia commonsLidia Kozenitzky, Splitting of the Red Sea*

Yossi Azulay

~ Cindy

The ancient Hebrew pictograph for rachem (רחם) draws a beautiful picture.  With the resh (ר) we see the head of a person, the chet (ח) a fence (illustrating protection), and with the closed mem (ם) a picture of a womb. The letter mem itself (מ) is connected to water and can also signify chaos.


Joined together these letters place one inside a womb – hidden, surrounded, and protected from chaos. A safe place where life springs forth. To live in G-d’s mercy, his compassion and tender affection, is to live in His womb.

In a world that seems to go more insane by the minute – calling good evil and evil good – what better time to be calling out to G-d : “Rachem, rachem!  Mercy;  have mercy on Your people, and Your city, Jerusalem.”

Rachem is an easy prayer to learn. There are few words and many may already be familiar to you.

A moving, powerful prayer that for myself speaks the deep love and affection I have for G-d’s people Israel, and His Land.

You can listen below to Yossi Azulay’s passionate performance of Rachem.

Purchase via Amazon – RachemRACHEM

We also highly recommend Yossi Azulay’s complete Album Prayers, Vol. 2

Download the lyrics (Hebrew, Transliteration, and English) here: Rachem

* from wikimedia commons

Rosh HaShanah! Dip Your Apple – Fountainheads



The Law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; …sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb
(Psalm 19:7, 10).

Why dip an already sweet apple in even sweeter honey? If you type this question in on any search engine you will find a number of thought provoking answers. But here, we want to share just one of those many answers from Aron Moss from an article he wrote called called Sweet Stings*:

There is a difference between the sweetness of an apple and the sweetness of honey. An apple is a sweet fruit which grows on a tree. …honey comes from a bee–an insect that is not only inedible, it actually stings. Nevertheless the honey that it produces is sweet. In fact, honey is sweeter than an apple!

Similarly, there are two types of sweetness in our lives: we have times of family celebration, successes in our careers, personal triumphs and harmonious relationships. These are sweet times like the apple is sweet. But then there is a different type of sweetness; a sweetness that comes from times of challenge. When things don’t go the way that we would like them to, when tragedy strikes, when our job is in jeopardy, when we fail to reach the goals we expected of ourselves, when our relationships are being strained and tested, when we feel alone.

At the time when we are facing these challenges, they seem bitter and insurmountable, like the sting of a bee. …We have all experienced events in our lives that at the time were painful, but in retrospect we say, “Thank G-d for the tough times–imagine where I would be without them!”

So we eat apples and honey on the first day of the new year. We bless each other and ourselves that in the year to come the apples should bring sweetness, and that the bee stings should be even sweeter!

EIN PRAT Fountainheads*** recorded a fun Rosh Hashanah parody called Dip Your Apple. You can download the lyrics here and enjoy Dip Your Apple in the You tube link below.



* Sweet Stings
** appointed times
*** The Fountainheads are a group of young Israeli singers, dancers, and musicians, all graduates and students of the Ein Prat Academy for Leadership, who have joined forces to create new Jewish artistic content for today’s Jewish world. – from The Fountainheads website

The Itsy Bitsy Spider – Akavish Katan

little spider

To accompany Keren’s latest mp3 teaching – Learn From The Creatures? – we wanted to share a a Music to Your Ears post to continue encouraging you with your vocalizing of Hebrew.

The Itsy Bitsy Spider is a well known nursery rhyme and a fun sing in Hebrew. Though we have little doubt that most of you already know the rhyme’s simple tune, you can listen to the Hebrew Itsy Bitsy Spidebelow.

You can download here – the Hebrew translation of the English song and also the words of the Hebrew song (YouTube) found below.


Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Cover of The Amazing Spider-Man vol. 2 #50 (April 2003) Art by J. Scott Campbell and Tim Townsend

New Spiderman movie opens nationwide in the USA, July 3!

Well known to most of us, is the Marvel superhero – Spider-Man.

It may not be true in all cases, but it’s a pretty good rule of thumb. If the word ‘man’ appears at the end of someone’s name you can draw one of two conclusions: A) They’re Jewish, as in Goldman, Feldman, or Lipman: or B) They’re a superhero, as in Superman, Batman, or Spider- Man.*

According to Rabbi Simcha Weinstein – in the case of Spider-Man – he is both! He writes:-

With Great Power Comes… Guilt!**

My “Spidey Sense” is tingling! Almost half a century after the comic book superhero Spider-Man was conceived by Jewish writer Stan Lee, a Jewish actor named Andrew Garfield will don the red and blue Spandex for the forthcoming cinematic reboot of the Spider-Man franchise.

As the self-proclaimed rabbi of all “Geek-dom,” I can tell you that Garfield’s being Jewish is no small matter in the Spider-Man universe. For years, fans have wondered if Peter Parker/Spider-Man was crypto-Jewish, at the very least.

Let’s look at the evidence: Living with his Uncle Ben and Aunt May in Queens, N.Y.? Check.
Middle name Benjamin? Check. A student at Columbia (30 percent Jewish)? Check.
Being motivated almost entirely by guilt? Double check.

In August 1962, Stan Lee was basking in the success of the Fantastic Four and the Hulk. He decided to create a new kind of superhero: an angst-ridden teenager who finds himself suddenly blessed — and cursed — with superpowers. He’s drawn as a nebbish — a dark-haired, spectacled, neurotic worrier.

When Parker is bitten by a radioactive spider while visiting a science museum, he acquires an array of superhuman, spider-like powers: speed, strength and agility; a tingling “spider sense” that warns him of impending danger; the capacity to recover quickly from injuries and poisons; and the ability to scramble up walls and shoot (and swing from) super-strong webs. Originally nearsighted, Parker now, post-spider bite, has perfect vision.

Amazingly, Garfield seems to have been bitten by the guilty bug. The actor noted in an interview, “I have a really big guilt complex in that if I’m not doing any kind of good then there’s no real reason for being.”

From Spider-Man’s debut in “Amazing Fantasy #15,” readers learn about the intense guilt that Peter experiences as a result of his powers. At first, Spider-Man uses his powers for his own gain rather than stopping a common thug. Tragically, that thug ends up killing Peter’s beloved Uncle Ben, who had once taught his nephew,

“With great power comes great responsibility.”

Sam Raimi, the director of the previous (and hugely successful) Spider-Man movies, understands that this quirk in Parker’s character is the key to the saga’s power:

“Spider-Man is a character that spends his life trying to pay down his guilt. The only difference is that it’s caused by his uncle, not his mother,” Raimi said. “That’s a real classically Jewish quality — to be very aware of your sins in this life and try and make amends for them in this life.”

Spider-Man, unlike other superheroes, is more of a Woody Allen nebbish than an all-powerful strongman, and he suffers from stereotypical Jewish neuroses. In his Clark Kent guise, Superman only pretended to be a nerd. Peter Parker really was one. If early sneak peeks at the new movie, which opens nationwide July 3, are any indication, it looks like Garfield has tapped into his inner nebbish with gusto.

Perhaps the enduring quality of Spider-Man is that we are all in some way like him, continuously “guilting” ourselves because we suspect we’re squandering the gifts we’ve been given.

Personally, I have always been drawn to this challenge. When I was growing up in the north of England, my Hebrew school rabbi admonished me to be “a light onto the nations,” then on the way home from the synagogue I’d get a “wedgie” from the kids from St. Monica’s high school. Often I would quietly invoke the words of Tevye the milkman: “Once in a while, can’t you choose someone else?”

But you know what they say: “With great power comes great responsibility.” It may be kitschy and corny, but nearly 50 years later it’s still relevant, too.

Link for the Hebrew ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider‘ – Ha’Akavish HaKatan

* Zeddy Lawrence, as written in Up, Up, and Oy Vey! How Jewish History, Culture, and Values Shaped the Comic Book Superhero by Rabbi Simcha Weinstein.
** Rabbi Simcha Weinstein, With Great Power Comes… Guilt!, The Jewish Post – 3rd of Av, 5775

Niggun of the Birds – Shlomo Katz


There are gates in heaven that cannot be opened except by melody and song.*

Some have defined a Niggun (nee-GOON) – or plural niggunim (nee-goo-NEEM) – as a wordless song, yet “…if a niggun is not sung, it is not a niggun. There may be a written melody which when actually sung out loud will permit a niggun to exist, but until sung, it does not exist as a niggun.”**

A niggun is considered a form of prayer and are an inspiration of the Hassidic Jews to whom nigguns “…were tools for elevating the spirit and “cleaving to God,” while words only got in the way.”***

Niggun of the Birds is a very special niggun sang by a gifted musician and prolific composer, Shlomo Katz. Shlomo Katz was born in the USA but grew up in Raanana, Israel. He was born into a family of musicians including his father, chazzan**** Avshalom Katz and his talented brother Eitan Katz.

Shlomo shared the following about Niggun of the Birds:

One night in Jerusalem, I wasn’t able to fall asleep. So what do you do if you can’t sleep? You walk down to the Kotel, the Holy Wall. (If you have enough strength)

It was dawn. Streets were silent, other than the birds chirping away. I was sure I heard them starting to sing this melody.

I can’t ever forget that moment.

Listen below to this beautiful niggun, inspired by the birds of Jerusalem. Sing along in harmony with your own heart’s song.


Though Niggun of the Birds is not available for purchase you can find both Shlomo Katz and Eitan Katz’s inspiring albums at either iTunes or

* Attributed to Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi (1745-1812) – one of the most famous composers of niggunim. He is also known for saying,

“If words are the pen of the heart,
then song is the pen of the soul.”

** Steven Evans, Lifting the Veil: Hidden Judaism Revealed, pg. 107
*** Milken Archieve of Jewish Music, July 3, 2012
**** Cantor – the person who leads the congregation in prayer.


B’yado – In His Hand

Lullabies are very special songs. They stay with us throughout our lives and bring back to us warmth, good feelings, our childhood homes, and our parent’s voice.

Elie Wiesel wrote a beautiful essay, called “Echoes of Yesterday,” for the Yeshiva University Centennial, in which he recalls a childhood Yiddishe lullaby, “Oifn pripitchik.” He writes:

‘Oifn pripitchik brennt a fiery.’

I remember the lullaby, so beautiful and moving. It accompanies me and haunts me. Thanks to it, words start singing on my lips and on my pen.*


B’YADO ~ In His Hand
A Lullaby From Celebrate Jewish Lullabies

Who doesn’t love a sweet lullaby? For me (Cindy) lullabies tug at the strings of my heart and bring back precious memories of bedtimes when my daughter Roxanne was young.

Download lyrics, Hebrew transliteration and English, here.

You can listen to B’yado at Reverbnation – sung by David Paskin.

B’yado – In His Hand – a lullaby to sing to your babies, your grand-babies, or to simply listen to as you fall asleep. You can purchase B’yado via iTunes


Also available from B’yado.

* Dov Peretz Elkins, Jewish Stories form Heaven and Earth: Inspiring Tales to Nourish the Heart and Soul, pg. 57

The Aaronic Blessing

heart - lines

Adonai said to Moshe, “Speak to Aharon and his sons, and tell them that this is how you are to bless the people of Isra’el: you are to say to them,
‘May Adonai bless you and keep you. May Adonai make his face shine on you and show you his favor. May Adonai lift up his face toward you and give you peace.’
“In this way they are to put my name on the people of Isra’el, so that I will bless them.”*

Sarah Kranz

The Aaronic (or priestly) blessing, Birkat HaKohanim in Hebrew, also is called Nesiat Kapayim – the lifting of the hands.

We read in Luke 24:50 of Yeshua – just before his ascension –

He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 

Yeshua was blessing His disciples with the same blessing that His Father had commanded Aaron, through Moses, to speak over the house of Israel and thus place His name on them.

Imagine this. As Yeshua is speaking these words, He rises to begin His priestly ministry of intercession. He speaks the words that have been placed on His people for thousands of years and would be spoken for at least a few thousand more. I would like to offer my own paraphrase based on this study.

May the Lord bless you with all the material prosperity you need, and may He protect it so that you can do good works, especially that you may have the time to learn His Word.

May He give you insight into His Word so that you can see the absolute wonder of Who He is, how He’s causing all things to work for good in His plan, and through that, grant you favor with God and man.

May He top it off with everything you don’t deserve but desperately need, everything that He is more than willing to give you through His covenant love and affection, and may you be overwhelmed entirely with His peace!**

You can download the Aaronic Blessings here.

Listen to The Aaronic Blessing sung by father and daughter, Misha and Marty Goetz, posted below
and / or
purchase via Aaronic Benediction (feat. Marty Goetz)

You can also purchase the Aaronic Benediction via ITunes

* Numbers 6:22-27, Complete Jewish Bible
** Pastor Jay Christianson, Bridges for Peace Israel Teaching Letter, July 2009


Blue ManEnjoy the following related post:

Blessing As A Divine Partnership

Jerusalem of Gold – Yerushalayim Shel Zahav

His foundation is in the holy mountains. The Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the other dwelling places of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of
G-d. Selah.

…Of Zion it shall be said, “This one and that one were born in her”; And the Most High Himself will establish her. Then those who sing as well as those who play the flutes shall say, “All my springs of joy are in you.”*

Jerusalem of Gold - Jean David

Artwork: Jerusalem of Gold, Jean David**

A description by the composer, beloved songwriter in Israel – the late Naomi Shemer, of her inspiration for this song:

The idea I started with was the Talmudic legend I remembered from my school days about Rabbi Akiva, who lived in poverty, in a hayloft with his beloved wife Rahel, who had been disowned by her father. As he plucked the hay out of her hair, he promised her that one day he would become wealthy and buy her a Jerusalem of Gold [a tiara]. . . . The phrase ‘Jerusalem of Gold’ suddenly shone in my memory as if to say, ‘Here I am,’ [Jerusalem was with us again] and I realized it would be the cornerstone of my song. – Naomi Shemer

Based on a Basque lullaby, this soul stirring song was composed at a time when the Old City was completely in Jordanian hands. Written by Naomi Shemer for the 1967 musical festival, Jerusalem of Gold expresses the longing of the Jewish heart for their beloved city, Jerusalem.

Naomi asked Shuly Nathan, at that time an unknown folk singer, to perform her song at the music festival. Jerusalem of Gold was so well received, Shuly was asked to sing it a second time.

Just three weeks after the debut of Jerusalem of Gold, the Six Day war broke out and Jerusalem of Gold became a psalm and a prayer for the Jewish people. Seven days later, IDF paratroopers liberated the Old City. For the first time in nineteen years Jews were able to approach the Western Wall. The paratroopers cried, they prayed, and they sang  Yerushalayim Shel Zahav – Jerusalem of Gold. When Naomi heard that the soldiers had sung her song at that time she wrote a final verse recalling the sound of the shofar blast, by Rabbi Shlomo Goren, that heralded the liberation of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is sacred to the Jewish people. This Holy City, and Israel as a whole, is a promise and hope given to them from G-d. Many of us who are not Jewish by birth, but are grafted into the olive tree, pray for Jerusalem every day and yearn for the time our feet will walk its streets. We long for Yeshua’s return and for this city that is eternal. We yearn for the time when Jews and the nations join together to worship the Lord in Zion! And this song, Jerusalem of God, stirs the strings of our hearts also. Jerusalem is precious to the heart of G-d, and that which is precious to G-d is precious to those who love Him.


I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from G-D, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.***

Passover 2 - 8Artwork: New Jerusalem, Ligtenberg, Blue and White Gallery, Cardo, Jerusalem.

You may download the lyrics to Jerusalem of Gold here.

Listen to Jerusalem of Gold, sang by Ari Goldwag, posted below.
and / or
download for free via iTunes
Download_on_iTunes_Badge_US-UK_110x40_1004Also below, you may listen to Shuly Nathan singing Jerusalem of Gold – France, 1968.

P.S.   For a beautiful rendition of ‘Jerusalem of Gold ~ Yerushalaim Shel Zahav‘ see also Yossi Azulay’s version on You Tube, or on his Tefillot – Prayers album.



*Psalm 87

** From WikiArt:

Jean David was a painter and designer, known for his contributions to the Romanian avant-garde and to the early modernist art of Israel (then recently founded).

He has studied between 1927 and 1937 at various art academies in Paris. In 1929 he participated for the first time at a collective exhibition in Bucharest and in 1933 he had his first personal exhibition (in the same city). In the early ’30s he was a member of the Surrealist group “unu” (meaning “one”). In 1942, he left Romania in a boat with 12 other Jews, including Theodor Brauner, the brother of Victor Brauner. After being captured by British authorities in Cyprus, he managed to reach Palestrina in 1944. Together with Marcel Janco, he founded in Israel the artist village known as Ein Hod. He also gained much reputation as a muralist and a designer, having designed numerous posters and other works for the El Al air company.

*** Revelation 21:2

She’hecheiyanu Blessing – Who Has Given Us Life

shehecheyanu She’hecheiyanu – Artwork by Baruch Nachshon

Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement…. get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted.
~ Abraham Heschel, God in Search of Man

The above words from Abraham Heschel encapsulate the heart of She’hecheyanu, a blessing of praise. It is recited as the first blessing on the occasion of each of the Festivals, marks new beginnings, and sets apart special occasions. It is the one prayer that has so caught my (Cindy’s)  heart – that I rarely move through a day without a reason to lift these words up to our Abba. Be it the first sighting of an irridescent hummingbird hovering over one of our blossoms or the sprouting of a newly planted seed… She’hecheyanu. It comes to my heart when I get news that my daughter is coming home or a sunset that takes my breath away. It sprang from my heart the other day when a delivery of new plants arrived at my door, bursting with new life, and later as the first green anole lizard of this season stopped to join me in my spring planting.

She’hecheiyanu is a prayer that reminds us that G-d is intimately and personally concerned with each of our lives. That G-d is, as Abraham Heschel says,” immediately… and personally concerned.”

You can download the words to She’hecheiyanu here.

Listen to She’hecheyanu, sang by Judy Caplan Ginsburgh, posted below.
and / or
purchase via Shehecheyanu

You can also purchase She’hecheyanu via iTunes


Shabbat – Candle Lighting

Shabbat Candles - Ilan Hasson

Shabbat Candles by Israeli artist – Ilan Hasson.

“There is more than one command in Judaism to light lights. There are three. There are the Shabbat candles. There is the Havdalah candle. And there are the Hanukkah candles.

They all shed light but what is the difference between them? The weekly Shabbat candles represent shalom bayit, peace in the home. They are lit indoors. They reflect, if you like, Judaism’s inner light, at the heart of which is the light of the sanctity of marriage and the holiness of home.

The Hanukkah candles, lit every night during the eight nights of the annual Hanukkah celebration, used to be lit outside — outside the front door. It was only fear of persecution, during exile in foreign and often hostile lands, that took the Hanukkah candles back inside. In recent times the Lubavitcher Rebbe introduced the custom of lighting giant menorahs in public places to bring back the original and intended spirit of the day, which was to share what we have with others, even wayfarers passing by. In Israel today, many light the Hanukkah lights outside the front doors of their homes.

Hanukkah candles are the light Judaism brings to the world when we are unafraid to announce our identity in public, live by our principles and fight, if necessary, for our freedom.

As for the Havdalah candle, which is made up of six wicks woven together, it represents the fusion of the two candles, the inner light of Shabbat, joined to the outer light we shine during the six days of the week when we go out into the world and live our faith in public.

When we live as Jews in private, filling our homes with the light of the Shekhina, when we live as Jews in public, bringing the light of hope to others, and when we live both together, then we bring light to the world.

There always were two ways to live in a world that is often dark and full of tears. We can curse the darkness or we can light a light, and as the Chassidim say:
Gam ohr katan meir choshech gadol. Even a little light drives out much darkness.

May we all help light up the world.*


There are various melodies to the sung blessing before lighting the Shabbat candles. Download the Shabbat Candle blessing here and listen to one of the melodies below.


* Based on article by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Blue ManIf you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy the following:

The Sabbath

Yehudit Ravitz and Yoni Richter — Lailah Tov

Laila Tov 2

Download Lyrics here.

Listen to this song at YouTube – posted below
Purchase used via – Best Children Songs-israel-hebrew-5 cd collection


HaTikvah – The Hope

Shared in honor of Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day)
and Yom HaAtzmaut (
Independence Day)

Hope of Isra’el, ADONAI! All who abandon you will be ashamed, those who leave you will be inscribed in the dust, because they have abandoned ADONAI, the source of living water.
Jeremiah 17:13


Avram Adan of Kfar Giladi is rasing a ink drawn flag during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War to mark the capture of Eilat.*

HaTikvah, The Hope, is the national anthem of Israel. Its lyrics are an adaptation of a the first stanza and refrain of Tikvateninu, Our Hope, a poem written in 1878 by Naftali Herz Imber, a Jewish poet from Zolochiv. You can download the full text of Imber’s nine stanza poem – Tikvateninu, Our Hope.

Samuel Cohen, a Jewish immigrant from Romania, set HaTikvah to music, adapting a Moldavian folk song to create the haunting melody.**


A memorial stone erected near the loading ramps at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.***

HaTikvah served as a source of hope and inspiration even before becoming Israel’s national anthem. There are many reports of Jews singing HaTikvah at their darkest hours during the Shoah. The following report is from Filip Muller’s**** book, Eyewitness to Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers:

“Suddenly a voice began to sing. Others joined in, and the sound swelled into a mighty choir. They sang first the Czechoslovak national anthem and then the Hebrew song ‘Hatikvah’. And all this time the SS men never stopped their brutal beatings. It was as if they regarded the singing as a last kind of protest which they were determined to stifle if they could. To be allowed to die together was the only comfort left to these people. Singing their national anthem they were saying a last farewell to their brief but flourishing past, a past which had enabled them to live for twenty years in a democratic state, a respected minority enjoying equal rights. And when they sang ‘Hatikvah’, now the national anthem of the state of Israel, they were glancing into the future, but it was a future which they would not be allowed to see.”

On April 20, 1945, just days after the liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, the survivors sang HaTikvah in an open air Shabbat service. You can listen to this moving BBC recording.

Download the lyrics to HaTikvah.

Listen to HaTikvah, sang by Yossi Azulay, posted below.
and / or
purchase via Epilog Hatikva
Once again we highly recommend Yossi Azulay’s complete album Prayers, Vol. 2

You can also purchase HaTikvah, or the Prayers, Vol 2 album, via iTunes

For those who have not had the opportunity to hear a recording of David Ben Gurion read the Israeli Declaration of Independence, May 14, 1948, you can step through a window of history and witness this miraculous event in the second video below.

The following day the 1948 Arab-Israeli war began and the reborn State of Israel was attacked from all sides by five Arab armies.




* Photo from Wikipedia
** There has been dispute about both the credit of who wrote the music to HaTikvah and the origin of the music itself.
*** Photo from Wikipedia – Translation of the German reads – In memory of the victims the National Socialist Tyranny of this rail ramp in the concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen were led
****Filip Muller was one of the few survivors of Auschwitz. He worked in the gassing installations and crematoria. His first hand account is considered one of the key documents of the Shoah.

Boi Kala – Come Oh Bride – Yossi Azulay

prayers 11

You can download Boi Kala lyrics here.

The Sabbath is a bride, and its celebration is like a wedding.*

Boi Kala – Come Oh Bride – is the last verse of Lekha Dodi – Going to My Beloved. It is a beautiful moving prayer welcoming in Shabbat but also a soul stirring song sung at Jewish weddings as the bride walks up to the chuppah where her bridegroom awaits her.

This is a wonderful song to learn as we make our way from Passover to Shavuot, Atzeret Pesach, which is the crowning, as it were of Passover and which foreshadows the culmination of God’s plan of Redemption.

The Talmud refers to Shavuot as ‘the marriage day’ between G-d and the Jewish people and just as a bride counts the days up to her wedding, so too Israel counts the days between Passover and Shavuot.

The book of Ruth is read during the season of Shavuot and those who are grafted into the Olive Tree are reminded of the redeeming love of Yeshua HaMashiach, our Goel, who has taken us as a bride from among the nations.

Listen to Boi Kala, sang by Yossi Azulay posted below
and / or
Purchase single track here safely via Boi Kala
Although, we highly recommend Yossi Azulay’s complete album Prayers, Vol. 2
It is a true delight and each track is inspirational.

You can also purchase Boi Kala, or the Prayers, Vol 2 album, via iTunes

Also enjoy the second video clip. Yossi Azulay sings the words of Boi Kalah to the stirring melody of “Time to Say Goodbye” at a beautiful Jewish wedding.  The bride and groom are saying goodbye to their old lives at the start of a precious new one together!
A breathtaking and memorable occasion. ~ Keren Hannah

*Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath, pg. 54

Eli, Eli – My G-d, My G-d – Hannah Senesh


Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame.
Blessed is the flame that burns in the secret fastness of the heart.
Blessed is the heart with strength to stop its beating for honor’s sake.
Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame.
—Hannah Senesh, written days before her capture by the Nazis

In honor of Holocaust Memorial Day we share her story and song.

Hannah Senesh was born in Hungary, July 17, 1921. When she graduated from school in 1939, Hannah immigrated to Israel and studied at the Agricultural school of Nahael. In 1941 Hannah joined  Kibbutz Sdot Yam and while there, together with her work in the fields, she wrote poetry.

At the age of 22 Hannah parachuted into Nazi-occupied Europe to help in the rescue of Hungarian Jews about to be deported to the German death camp at Auschwitz. She was arrested on the Hungarian border, imprisoned and tortured. Hannah refused to give up the transmitter codes, which would have lead to the arrest of the other parachutists. She was eventually executed by firing squad.

The words of Eli, Eli – my God, my God, also known as Tefilat Adam – The Prayer of Man, were penned by Hannah and the melody was composed by David Zahavi. You can download the lyrics for Eli, Eli here and listen to the song below.

There is a moving documentary about Hannah called Blessed is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh.  We highly recommend this outstanding documentary. You can rent this movie from amazon – Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh or, if interested and able to share with others, you can purchase here – Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh