Monday, January 14, 2019

A song for peace - שיר לשלום

Let the sun rise
תנו לשמש לעלות
The morning to shine,
לבוקר להאיר,
The purest of prayers
הזכה שבתפילות
Won’t bring us back.
אותנו לא תחזיר.

He who extinguished their flame
מי אשר כבה נרו
And was buried in the dirt,
ובעפר נטמן,
Bitter tears won’t wake him up
בכי מר לא יעירו
Won’t bring him back here.
לא יחזירו לכאן.

No man shall return us
איש אותנו לא ישיב
From the dark and somber pit,
מבור תחתית אפל,
Here we won’t be helped
כאן לא יועילו
By neither the joy of victory
לא שמחת הניצחון
Nor the songs of praise.
ולא שירי הלל.

Therefore just sing—a song for peace
לכן, רק שירו שיר לשלום
Don’t whisper a prayer
אל תלחשו תפילה
Even better—sing a song for peace
מוטב תשירו שיר לשלום
In a loud shout!
בצעקה גדולה.

Let the sun penetrate
תנו לשמש לחדור
Through the flowers.
מבעד לפרחים.
Don’t look back,
אל תביטו לאחור,
Make peace with those who have gone.
הניחו להולכים.

Set your sights on hope,
שאו עיניים בתקווה,
Not through the scopes (of rifles)
לא דרך כוונות
Sing a song for happiness
שירו שיר לאהבה
And not for wars.
ולא למלחמות.

Don’t say ‘the day will come’—
אל תגידו יום יבוא
Bring on that day!
הביאו את היום!
(Because it’s not a dream)
)כי לא חלום הוא(
And in all the town squares
ובכל הכיכרות
Cheer only for peace!
הריעו רק שלום!

Therefore just sing—a song for peace…
לכן, רק שירו שיר לשלום...

This song is again a song related to war, but it's written in a very different perspective. Try to guess through who's voice we're hearing this song. If you aren't sure, I urge you to go back and reread it, trying to see who is singing this song.

Spoiler below:

In any case, this song is sung by those who have already passed away. If you didn't already see that, try rereading again to see what meaning you may have missed.

This first 3 stanzas are talking about the singer(s) themselves. The key idea is that nothing and nobody can return the fallen back to life, that even if their army won the war, it doesn't have any effect on those who have fallen. This all sets the stage to the key conclusion of this song—pretty unsurprising from the song title—that the only way to end war casualties is to not have war—to have peace.

There reasonable conclusion is therefore to sing a song for peace, and they seem adamant about it. When this song is sung, it is shouted strongly and confidently, as they say, you do not whisper a prayer (peace).

The last 3 stanzas of the song direct the listeners (the living) on how to continue their lives. First, don't cry over spilt milk, let go of those who have fallen, nothing good will come from clinging on to them. Next, focus your efforts towards hope, happiness, avoid wars and conflict. And finally, it points out that many people will just hope for the day of peace to come, but won't actively do anything to bring it on. It affirms to the listeners that the days of peace are not a dream, and that it is on them to bring on that period.

This song was originally created by and for the Israeli army and was commonly sung by soldiers to soldiers. Most Israeli army songs are about the sadness of war, far fewer about the glory. Going along with the theme of this song, the Israeli army is known as the Israeli Defense Force(s), whose purpose is primarily to defend Israel against its many enemies.

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