Saturday, November 14, 2009

Yerushalayim Shel Zahav

Ofra Hazra one of the first Israeli Pop Singers sings "Yerushalayim Shel Zahav" one of my favorite songs. Many will say this is a secular poetry but I find it really hard to separate among the good things God has given to us and term it something as secular.Ofra died at the young age of 42, among various speculations from murder to health reasons, she was one of the jewels in singing voices from Israel.

Hearing this song is an emotional experience for not only the Jewish people but all in the Judeo-Christian faith who understand Jerusalem is the sacred city of the King. It holds a special place in the heart of the believer. Now I know why the ancient singers and poets by the rivers of Babylon couldn't bring their harps and lyre's to sing as they were not in Jerusalem, the city of God. In the final scenes of the movie "Kingdom of Heaven" - Bailion the defender of Jerusalem is asking Saladin the Syrian King..."What is Jerusalem worth to you?"; At first he tells him "nothing" and walks away and then he suddenly turns and says "Everything"!.

Here is Ofra singing "Yerushalayim Shel Zahav". I have provided the translation from ...Enjoy!

Avir harim tzalul kayayin
Vereiach oranim,
Nisa beru'ach ha'arbayim
Im kol pa'amonim.

Uvetardemat ilan va'even
Shvuyah bachalomah,
Ha'ir asher badad yoshevet /nitzevet
Uvelibah chomah.

Yerushalayim shel zahav
Veshel nechoshet veshel or
Halo lechol shirayich ani kinor.

Eicha yavshu borot hamayim
Kikar hashuk reikah,
Ve'ein poked et har habayit
Ba'ir ha'atikah.

Uvame'arot asher basela
Meyalelot ruchot,
Ve'ein yored el yam hamelach
Bederech Yericho.


Ach bevo'i hayom lashir lach
Velach lik'shor k'tarim,
Katonti mitze'ir bana'ich
Ume'acharon ham'shorerim.

Ki shmech tzorev et hasfatayim
Keneshikat saraf ,
Im eshkachech Yerushalayim
Asher kulah zahav...


Chazarnu el borot hamayim
Lashuk velakikar,
Shofar kore behar habayit
ba'ir ha'atikah.

Uvame'arot asher baselah
Alfei shmashot zorchot,
Nashuv nered el yam hamelach
Bederech Yericho!


The mountain air is clear as wine
And the scent of pines
Is carried on the breeze of twilight
With the sound of bells.

And in the slumber of tree and stone
Captured in her dream
The city that sits solitary
And in its midst is a wall.

Jerusalem of gold
And of bronze, and of light
Behold I am a harp for all your songs.

How the cisterns have dried
The market-place is empty
And no one frequents the Temple Mount
In the Old City.

And in the caves in the mountain
Winds are howling
And no one descends to the Dead Sea
By way of Jericho.


But as I come to sing to you today,
And to adorn crowns to you (i.e. to tell your praise)
I am the smallest of the youngest of your children (i.e. the least worthy of doing so)
And of the last poet (i.e. of all the poets born).

For your name scorches the lips
Like the kiss of a seraph
If I forget thee, Jerusalem,
Which is all gold...


We have returned to the cisterns
To the market and to the market-place
A ram's horn calls out on the Temple Mount
In the Old City.

And in the caves in the mountain
Thousands of suns shine -
We will once again descend to the Dead Sea
By way of Jericho!


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