Monday, December 06, 2010

Elohim, shmor al ima...

It's so amazing to me what you find on the Internet. Here I found a video of a woman singing a song in Hebrew about a boy who writes a letter to God asking him to keep his family safe.

I'd love to find out where this clip is from and the story behind it. To me, it is truly bizarre, because the Hebrew is actually a very loose translation of a story that started in Soviet Russia many decades before:

In 1928, a four year old boy was taught the meaning of the word "Always". And when he understood the concept, he said:

Let there always be sun,
Let there always be sky,
Let there always be Mommy,
Let there always be I.

This little poem was captured by a journalist, who wrote about it in a magazine, which in turned made it into a book by a famous Russian writer, which in turn made it into a famous Soviet poster, which in turn, in 1962, made it into a very popular song.

But while this is a fascinating story of a proto-meme, what's bizarre is unlike the other singers in this clip who faithfully translate the words into German, French, etc, why did the Hebrew translation change the meaning - why did they bring God into it and remove the entire point of the song, which is talking about the notion of eternity. It doesn't look like the Hebrew singers in the video are religious...


Anonymous Nechama said...

I am not sure if the eternity is the fundamental point here. After all, no 4 year old truly 'gets' the concept of always. To an average 4 year old 'always' is very relative to his own existence. Therefore it is understandable that he would want to be around, surrounded by blue skies, sunshine and his Mama. To him the 'foreseeable future' and 'always' are one and the same. Why did the Hebrew lyrics evoke G-d? No idea, of course, but I would guess because the verses were in Hebrew sung by Israelis and no matter how secular they may feel, they are Jews and the concept of G-d is central in Israel's existence. And more, to tie it back to the 4 year old's notion of always having what he wants with him....having G-d's protective power is a very comforting notion. May be I am over-Einsteining this, as one of my friends is fond of saying, but that makes some sense to me. Overall, I am with you in your bewilderment. By the do you find this obscure stuff?

December 08, 2010 5:44 AM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

>By the do you find this obscure stuff?

It just finds me, I guess. Probably I just spend too much time surfing.

December 08, 2010 7:25 AM  
Anonymous Leonid said...

Actually eternity is the main attribute of God in any monotheistic religion. So jewish translation is not so strange

September 04, 2013 6:30 AM  

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