Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut: The Hope Endures
Israel is filled with Hope
Israel, a tiny country surrounded by enemies and originally covered with desert in the south and swamps in the north. In the 65 years since the modern State of Israel gained independence, this small country has turned the land lush and accomplished remarkable achievements that have influenced the world.
Image credit: tpabma / 123RF Stock Photo
Beginning on the evening of Sunday, April 14th and ending with sunset on Wednesday, April 16th we celebrate the amazing country we call Israel with two special days. The first is Yom HaZikaron, Memorial Day. This year the day we remember and honor all the fallen soldiers of Israel begins on the evening of Sunday, April 14. It continues the next day with memorial services throughout the country and a siren at 11:00 in the morning. During the two minute siren Israelis stop work, stop driving, stop talking and stand in silent reverence to the fallen. This is a solemn day in Israel; it is a time to remember and thank those who gave their lives for this country.
As night falls on Monday, April 15th, Israel transitions to Yom HaAtzmaut, Israeli Independence Day. On this day Israelis celebrate. There are picnics, parades, parties and fireworks. Israel celebrates with abandon despite all the struggles still faced by this tenacious country. There is a pervasive feeling of hope on this day. We hope for the continued existence of the State of Israel, we hope all our conflicts will be resolved and our children will not be asked to give the ultimate sacrifice and we hope for the strength of all Israelis to continue to persevere.
Within these two special days we hear one song that embodies the feelings of the nation. This song is the Israeli national anthem, HaTikvah, The Hope. This hauntingly beautiful song was adapted from a poem by Naphtali Herz Imber written in 1877. It expresses the ancient hope of the Jewish people to return to their ancestral homeland and touches the soul with a deep passion.
Like everything in Israel, the lyrics to HaTikvah have evolved into their current state to reflect the hopes of the modern Israeli. The first stanza of the original poem was left untouched; however, the second portion of the official state version focuses on the hope fulfilled with the establishment of the modern State of Israel.
HaTikvah has a mournful melody; yet, the lyrics are uplifting, optimistic and filled with hope. The Israeli national anthem has the power to speak to the soul and hold the enduring hope of the Jewish people. This song is sung on Memorial Day to honor our soldiers who died and on Independence Day to express our yearning for the future of Israel. With these words we remember the sacrifices with tears and what we hope is to come with joy.
As long as deep in the heart,
The soul of a Jew yearns,
And forward to the East
To Zion, an eye looks
Our hope will not be lost,
The hope of two thousand years,
To be a free nation in our land,
The land of Zion and Jerusalem.
Kol od balevav p'nimah כל עוד בלבב פנימה
Nefesh Yehudi homiyah נפש יהודי הומיה
Ulfa'atey mizrach kadimah ולפאתי מזרח קדימה
Ayin l'tzion tzofiyah עין לציון צופיה
Od lo avdah tikvatenu עוד לא אבדה תקותנו
Hatikvah bat shnot alpayim התקוה בת שנות אלפים
L'hiyot am chofshi b'artzenu להיות עם חופשי בארצנו
Eretz Tzion v'Yerushalayim ארץ ציון וירושלים