Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Who Can Retell?

Time for another conspiracy theory. This website (click on the candles) got me thinking again about the Hanukah song "Mi Yemalel" and my theory that it is subtly anti-religious. How so? Consider the lyrics (taken from here):

Mi yemalel gvurot Yisra'el,
'otan mi yimneh?
Hen bechol dor yaqum hagibor,
go'el ha'am.

Shma'! Bayamim hahem bazman hazeh,
Makabi moshia' ufodeh,
uvyameinu kol 'am Yisra'el,
yit'akhed, yaqum veyiga'el.
Note the seemingly religious terms of praise of God that are applied to humans. It seems like God is intentionally written out of the story.

[Reverting to Modern Hebrew transliteration. Please forgive me.]
"Gvurot Yisrael," the brave deeds of Israel. Isn't it usually Gvurot Hashem?

It is "hagibor," the brave man of each generation, who redeems the nation. Isn't is usually God who is "go'el ha'am"?

And so on, and so on.

I'm not sure if I'm just being overly picky, but it seems to me to be an intentional writing out of God from Jewish history, as was common among ardently secular Zionists, through an appropriation of religious terminology.

Here's another example. I remember learning a song that went, "Not by might not by power but by spirit alone..." Compare with Zechariah 4:6: "Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, saith HaShem of hosts." Clearly, an intentional change of "My spirit" to "spirit alone".

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Favorites More