On Yom Ha'zikaron, we remember thousands of fallen soldiers and victims of terror. On this day in Israel, a somber tone descends and – in particular – the airwaves take on the weight of the mood. There are many songs that have become associated with Yom Ha'zikaron which reflect the mood of this day. Below, we explore two of these songs.
"Livkot Lecha" (“To Cry For You”) by Aviv Geffen
Aviv Geffen wrote this well-known song in 1991 after his close friend died in a car accident. Later in 1995, Gefen sang the song in a memorial to assassinated prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Since then, the Israeli public has come to associate this song with mourning and the loss of those whose time was cut short. Below is the song, recorded by Arik Einstein, one of the most beloved singers in Israeli history, who passed away in 2013.
- How did you feel listening to this song?
- What do you think Aviv Geffen was trying to express in this song?
- “And like the tide/we crash, we collide.” Explore the image of the tide. How do tides behave? What do they symbolize? How does this fit with the feelings and mindset of Yom Ha'zikaron?
"Bab-El-Wad" ("Gate of the Valley") by Haim Gouri
Bab-el-wad, or Sha’ar HaGei in Hebrew, is the name of the entrance to the narrow part of the road leading to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. This passage and the nearby fort of Latrun held particular strategic importance during the 1948 War of Independence – without control of the road, it was impossible to get convoys of food, water, and medicine to the Jews in Jerusalem without tremendous loss of life.
As a result, several bloody battles were fought in the area during the War of Independence, and this place came to symbolize the ultimate sacrifice for the security and well-being of the country. (See also Magash Ha'kesef, "The Silver Platter," a poem written by Israeli poet Natan Alterman in December 1947, which explores this very theme.)
- How do you feel listening to the song?
- In the last stanza of Bab-el-wad, we see the words "spring" and "memory" tied to the "red anemone flower" – Israel’s national symbol of mourning. What do you think we are meant to understand by the association of these three things with Yom Ha'zikaron?
- Does the fact that Bab-el-wad is about a specific time and place give it a different type of meaning than the other songs? If so, how?
- What is something you're thinking about after listening and analyzing these three songs? What themes resonate with you and why?