Introduction

One was sung by Soviet Jews, trapped in the USSR: “Blue and White are the colors of my land, for now and ever after”.

The other was sung by Jews in Israel: 

“Won’t you ask after, O Zion, the weal of your captive?”

🎵 A music lesson: sing in Hebrew, and discuss the lyrics meanings and source.

 

Blue and White

SONG #1 :  

כחול ולבן

How to say it in Hebrew: Kachol Ve-Lavan

 

THE STORY BEHIND THE SONG

Kachol Ve-Lavan (Hebrew: Blue and White), in an Hebrew patriot song that became an anthem of Soviet Jewry and was also popular in Israel.  

The song and its melody were written in the late 60’s by Israel Rashel, a Jewish resident of Minsk, who was then 21. Herschel wrote the poem in Hebrew in order to express his connection to Israel. He fought for his right to immigrate to Israel until he achieved it in March 1971.

 

THE SONG’S MEANING

The song expresses feelings and meanings associated with blue and white colors, the national colors of the State of Israel.

 

LINKS TO SONG’S MELODY

https://youtu.be/qsVXn3bzGvI

 

 

LYRICS IN ENGLISH AND HEBREW

 

ENGLISHTransliterationHEBREW
blue and whiteKachul ve-lavanכחול ולבן
It’s my color.Ze tzeva sheliזה צבע שלי.
blue and whiteKachul ve-lavanכחול ולבן
the colors of my landTziv-ay admatiצבעי אדמתי
blue and whiteKachul ve-lavanכחול ולבן
blue and whiteKachul ve-lavanכחול ולבן
It’s my color.Ze tzeva sheliזה צבע שלי
All my days, forever.Kol yamay, le-o’lam…כל ימי לעולם.. 
blue and whiteKachul ve-lavanכחול ולבן,
Like a song, like a dream.Kmo shir, kmo chalomכמו שיר, כמו חלום.
blue and whiteKachul ve-lavanכחול ולבן
Hope for Peace.Tikva le-shalomתקוה לשלום.
blue and whiteKachul ve-lavanכחול ולבן
blue and whiteKachul ve-lavanכחול ולבן
blue and whiteKachul ve-lavanכחול ולבן
It’s my color.Ze tzeva sheliזה צבע שלי
All my days, forever.Kol yamay, le-olam…כל ימי לעולם.. 
blue and whiteKachul ve-lavanכחול ולבן
Hermon and KinneretHermon ve kineretחרמון וכנרת
blue and whiteKachul ve-lavanכחול ולבן
My heart is singingLibi mezamer etליבי מזמר את
blue and whiteKachul ve-lavanכחול ולבן
blue and whiteKachul ve-lavanכחול ולבן
blue and whiteKachul ve-lavanכחול ולבן
It’s my color.Ze tzeva sheliזה צבע שלי
All my days, forever.Kol yamay, le-olam…כל ימי לעולם.. 
blue and whiteKachul ve-lavanכחול ולבן
Sky and snow.Shamayim ve shelegשמים ושלג.
blue and whiteKachul ve-lavanכחול ולבן
It’s a wonder and a wonderZe pelle ve pelleזה פלא ופלא
blue and whiteKachul ve-lavanכחול ולבן
blue and whiteKachul ve-lavanכחול ולבן
It’s my color.Ze tzeva sheliזה צבע שלי
All my days, forever.Kol yamay, le-olam…כל ימי לעולם.. 
blue and whiteKachul ve-lavanכחול ולבן
There is no other color.Ein tzeva acherאין צבע אחר.
blue and whiteKachul ve-lavanכחול ולבן
I’m just repeating and sayAni rak chozerאני רק חוזר.
blue and whiteKachul ve-lavanכחול ולבן
blue and whiteKachul ve-lavanכחול ולבן
blue and whiteKachul ve-lavanכחול ולבן
It’s my color.Ze tzeva sheliזה צבע שלי
All my days, forever.Kol yamay, le-olam…כל ימי לעולם.. 

 

Won’t you ask after, O Zion, the weal of your captives Or Zion, shall you not beseech the welfare of your prisoners?

SONG #2 : 

 

SONG TITLE IN HEBREW

צִיּוֹן, הֲלֹא תִשְׁאֲלִי לִשְׁלוֹם אֲסִירַיִךְ?

How to say it in Hebrew: Tzion, halo tishali lishlom asira’ich

 

THE STORY BEHIND THE SONG

Associated with the tragedy of Tisha B’Av — the long Jewish exile — and its grand Zionist “correction” with the emergence of the State of Israel, the same song has since been drafted to serve a variety of other “Jewish prisoners”. 

 

THE SONG’S MEANING

Rabbi Yehuda Halevi’s poem is a song of love and longing for his beloved soul, to the Land of Israel. As a devoted and faithful lover, he faces the ups and downs of a whirlwind of heavy feelings – betrayal, difficulty dealing with the loss of his lover’s youth, and the supposed loss of her special qualities. 

 

In contrast to the emotional jolt of the speaker, the collective presented in the poem, exhibits a steady attitude towards Zion. They are prisoners of love for her. Apparently, the agitated speaker derives his stability from the collective’s stability. At the end of the poem he becomes part of the collective, that awaits patiently.  Source 

 

LINKS

 Short version (pray like)  

 Longer version 

 

Full Lyrics in English  

Full lyrics in Hebrew 

 

LYRICS IN ENGLISH AND HEBREW

 

ENGLISHTransliterationHEBREW
Won’t you ask after, O Zion, the weal of your captives, Tziyon, ha-lo tishali­ li-shlom ashira-ich,צִיּוֹן הֲלֹא תִשְׁאֲלִי לִשְׁלוֹם אֲסִירַיִךְ
That part of your flocks which seeks to know yours?Dorshei shlomech vehem yeter adaraichדּוֹרְשֵׁי שְׁלוֹמֵךְ וְהֵם יֶתֶר עֲדָרָיִךְ
Water (West) and East and North and YemenMa-eim u-mizrach u-me-tzphone u-timan shalomמִיָּם וּמִזְרָח וּמִצָּפוֹן וְתֵימָן שְׁלוֹם
Near and far, bring forth weal from your every direction,Rachok ve-karov she-ee mikol avara-ichרָחוֹק וְקָרוֹב שְׂאִי מִכֹּל עֲבָרָיִךְ,
The weal of lust’s captive, his tears Hermon’s dews,

Who yearns to let them fall on the slopes your peaks!

U-shalom ashir teava, noten dimotav ketal hermon ve-nichsaf lirdetam al harara-ichוּשְׁלוֹם אֲסִיר תַּאֲוָה, נוֹתֵן דְּמָעָיו כְּטַל–חֶרְמוֹן וְנִכְסַף לְרִדְתָּם עַל הֲרָרָיִךְ!
To bewail your affliction I cry out like jackals,

But in times that I dream that your bondage might end,

I become like a violin for your songs.

Livkot anutech ani tanim, ve-et achlom shivat shevotech – ani kinor leshira-ichלִבְכּוֹת עֱנוּתֵךְ אֲנִי תַנִּים, וְעֵת אֶחֱלֹם שִׁיבַת שְׁבוּתֵך – אֲנִי כִנּוֹר לְשִׁירָיִךְ.

 

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