Wednesday, May 19, 2004


When I started out playing weddings in the JM field, one song that many bandleaders regularly called on the jobs I played was the Israeli tune, "Hakotel." I never understood why they would choose to call a sad song at such a joyous time.

Here's a translation of the last verse:
She stood, dressed in black, at the kotel.
The mother of one of the infantry soldiers.
She told me, it's the eyes of my son that are shining
And not the candles on the wall.
She told me: I'm not writing
Any note to hide between the cracks.
Because what I gave to the kotel only last night
Is greater than any words or writing.
And here's the chorus (which quotes Rav Kook):
The kotel, moss and sadness.
The kotel, lead and blood.
There are people with a heart of stone.
There are stones with a human heart.
(The full lyric can be found here.)

And so, I never call this tune when I'm leading gigs... except on Yom Hazikaron or Yom Yerusholayim. Over this Yom Yerusholayim, I had the opportunity to play and sing this song at several gigs. The lyrics are so powerful, and resonate so much... especially in light of the "matzav" in Artzenu Hakedosha these days. I find it hard to express my thoughts about all those who gave their lives -- both then and now -- on behalf of Am Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael. The self-sacrifice of our chayalim truly is, if I may borrow the lyric..."gadol mimilim umiktav.

And so, as Yom Yerusholayim draws to a close, I simply conclude with the words of Rav Goren Z"L on that first Yom Yerusholayim at the Kotel, "L'shana Hazot B'Yerusholayim Habenuya, B'Yerusholayim Ha'atika!"