Monday, September 12, 2011

Hatikva ("The Hope") by Rita

Here Rita, her stage name,  sings Hatikva ("The Hope"), the national anthem of Israel. The anthem is performed at Pa'amoney Hayovel (Jubilee Bells), Hebrew University Stadium, Jerusalem, Israel, Thursday, April 30, 1998. Rita was born Rita Yahan-Farouz in Tehran, Iran, and she emigrated to Israel with her family in 1970, as a young girl.

Lyrics by: Naftali Hertz Imber
Music by:  Samuel Cohen

The text of Hatikva is based on a nine-stanza poem, Tikvatenu ("Our Hope"), which Naftali Hertz Imber (1856-1909) wrote after emigrating to Palestine from Ukraine (then part of Galicia) in 1882. There are various versions of the poem, but most sources agree that the anthem is based on the version he published in Jerusalem between 1884 and 1886.

Imber left Palestine, wandering around a bit, and eventually settled in America in 1892, had a difficult time making a living as a poet and writer, was married briefly and died in penury in 1909. Almost forgotten save for his lyrics.

The melody has a longer more complex history, borrowing from various sources. Samuel Cohen, originally from Moldova, came up with the melody around 1888, which he said was adapted from a Romanian folk song, “Cucuruz cu frunza-n sus” (“Maize with up-standing leafs”). That song was itself likely adapted from La Mantovana," a 17th-century Italian song, originally written by Giuseppino del Biado around 1600. (If you listen to "La Mantovana," you can hear echoes of Hatikva.)

The song was banned briefly by the British under the Palestine Mandate in 1919. While the song has been sung at least since the State of Israel was founded in 1948, Hatikva only became the official national anthem in 2004. The anthem only incorporates the first verse and the refrain from the original Imber poem. The song is mostly in the minor key, hence its mournful quality, yet the song speaks about hope—the hope of being a free people, and may I add (eventually) living in peace among its neighbours.


Hebrew lyrics

כֹּל עוֹד בַּלֵּבָב פְּנִימָה
נֶפֶשׁ יְהוּדִי הוֹמִיָּה
וּלְפַאֲתֵי מִזְרָח, קָדִימָה
עַיִן לְצִיּוֹן צוֹפִיָּה

עוֹד לֹא אָבְדָה תִּקְוָתֵנוּ
הַתִּקְוָה בַּת שְׁנוֹת אַלְפַּיִם
לִהְיוֹת עַם חָפְשִׁי בְּאַרְצֵנוּ
אֶרֶץ צִיּוֹן וִירוּשָׁלַיִם


Kol od balevav penima
Nefesh Yehudi homiya,
Ulfa'atei mizrach kadima
Ayin l'Tziyon tzofiya.

Od lo avda tikvatenu,
Hatikva bat sh'not alpayim,
Lihyot am chofshi be'artzenu
Eretz Tziyon virushalayim.

English translation

As long as deep within the heart
A Jewish soul stirs,
And forward, to the ends of the East
An eye looks out, towards Zion.

Our hope is not yet lost,
The hope of two thousand years,
To be a free people in our land
The land of Zion and Jerusalem.

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