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

 

ENGLISH Transliteration HEBREW
blue and white Kachul ve-lavan כחול ולבן
It’s my color. Ze tzeva sheli זה צבע שלי.
blue and white Kachul ve-lavan כחול ולבן
the colors of my land Tziv-ay admati צבעי אדמתי
blue and white Kachul ve-lavan כחול ולבן
blue and white Kachul ve-lavan כחול ולבן
It’s my color. Ze tzeva sheli זה צבע שלי
All my days, forever. Kol yamay, le-o’lam… כל ימי לעולם.. 
blue and white Kachul ve-lavan כחול ולבן,
Like a song, like a dream. Kmo shir, kmo chalom כמו שיר, כמו חלום.
blue and white Kachul ve-lavan כחול ולבן
Hope for Peace. Tikva le-shalom תקוה לשלום.
blue and white Kachul ve-lavan כחול ולבן
blue and white Kachul ve-lavan כחול ולבן
blue and white Kachul ve-lavan כחול ולבן
It’s my color. Ze tzeva sheli זה צבע שלי
All my days, forever. Kol yamay, le-olam… כל ימי לעולם.. 
blue and white Kachul ve-lavan כחול ולבן
Hermon and Kinneret Hermon ve kineret חרמון וכנרת
blue and white Kachul ve-lavan כחול ולבן
My heart is singing Libi mezamer et ליבי מזמר את
blue and white Kachul ve-lavan כחול ולבן
blue and white Kachul ve-lavan כחול ולבן
blue and white Kachul ve-lavan כחול ולבן
It’s my color. Ze tzeva sheli זה צבע שלי
All my days, forever. Kol yamay, le-olam… כל ימי לעולם.. 
blue and white Kachul ve-lavan כחול ולבן
Sky and snow. Shamayim ve sheleg שמים ושלג.
blue and white Kachul ve-lavan כחול ולבן
It’s a wonder and a wonder Ze pelle ve pelle זה פלא ופלא
blue and white Kachul ve-lavan כחול ולבן
blue and white Kachul ve-lavan כחול ולבן
It’s my color. Ze tzeva sheli זה צבע שלי
All my days, forever. Kol yamay, le-olam… כל ימי לעולם.. 
blue and white Kachul ve-lavan כחול ולבן
There is no other color. Ein tzeva acher אין צבע אחר.
blue and white Kachul ve-lavan כחול ולבן
I’m just repeating and say Ani rak chozer אני רק חוזר.
blue and white Kachul ve-lavan כחול ולבן
blue and white Kachul ve-lavan כחול ולבן
blue and white Kachul ve-lavan כחול ולבן
It’s my color. Ze tzeva sheli זה 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

 

ENGLISH

Transliteration

HEBREW

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 adaraich

דּוֹרְשֵׁי שְׁלוֹמֵךְ וְהֵם יֶתֶר עֲדָרָיִךְ

Water (West) and East and North and Yemen

Ma-eim u-mizrach u-me-tzphone u-timan shalom

מִיָּם וּמִזְרָח וּמִצָּפוֹן וְתֵימָן שְׁלוֹם

Near and far, bring forth weal from your every direction,

Rachok ve-karov she-ee mikol avara-ich

רָחוֹק 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-ich

וּשְׁלוֹם 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-ich

לִבְכּוֹת עֱנוּתֵךְ אֲנִי תַנִּים, וְעֵת אֶחֱלֹם שִׁיבַת שְׁבוּתֵך – אֲנִי כִנּוֹר לְשִׁירָיִךְ.

 

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Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov

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