This week's video is the group Voices of Eden performing a lovely version of Eli Eli. Written in Israel in 1942 by Hannah Senesh with music by David Zehavi, Eli Eli is a powerhouse of a song that has become a classic Shabbat Z'mirot. The song is both a powerhouse because of it's beautiful lyrics (see below) and Senesh's story. Not long after composing Eli Eli Senesh volunteered to parachute into Yugoslovia to help Jews escape to Israel. She was caught and executed by the Germans in Hungary in 1944. Despite being written at the height of the Holocaust, the song reflects a deep faith in our the intimate connection with God and a wonderful lyric sensitivity.
Voices of Eden is an ensemble lead by Eliana Gilad, who "is an internationally recognized expert in the conscious use of voice and rhythm as a natural healer, as they were used in ancient times." I'm not exactly sure what that means, other than that it involves "[h]ealing chants, medically proven to induce relaxation and focus, that connect us to our Source." If this sounds interesting, please check out her website. Gilad notes that in this video she "sings into the worlds oldest frame drum, dated 5600 B.C. in the mystical city of Safed." I'm also not sure that that means. Ancient style of drum? I don't see anything on the website clarifying it. But it is a lovely sound.
I'm big fan of Eli, Eli and thought I'd share the lyrics. While there are lots of great versions of it floating around I'm particularly partial to the one performed by Stephanie Schneiderman on Oy Baby. (sample).
Shelo yigameir l'olam,
rishrush shel hamayim,
O Lord, my God, I pray that these things shall never end.
The sand and the sea,
the rush of the waters,
the crash of the heavens,
the prayer of man.
sources: The Jewish Agency for Israel, Project Z'mirot and HebrewSongs