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▪ It’s important for Jews to stand up for Christians facing religious persecution around the world: Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis condemns ban on Christmas in Brunei
▪ A Jewish musician suggests banning the song “Zochreini Na” because it has become an anthem of revenge killings in Israel. I disagree. In the US, it has no connotations of that nature whatsoever. It’s just a song. You can see on YouTube (I, II) plain yeshivish weddings where the song is played and no one is waving guns in the air or anything like that. I have never heard of the song meaning anything like that in the US: It’s Past Time To Stop Singing About Revenge!
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D Goldman: Why is the world obsessed with the Election of Israel?
R S Brody: Ask the Rabbi: Is revenge a Jewish value?
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About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and as Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He also serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

5 comments

  1. See Aron White’s “The Three Cardinal Sins of Singing”(Cross Currents, 11/6/14) regarding “Zachreini” and words matching the mood of a wedding.

    Yerachmiel Begun also composed a “Zachreini” that is on the Miami “Bederech Hatorah” album, released in 2001(one can sample it on the “Mostly Music” website). It is very different than the one discussed here in that both the tempo and the mood of the Miami version are for a Kumsits such that it could never be danced to at a wedding! Also, the lyrics in that song stop right before וְאִנָּקְמָה so it can’t be called a song of “revenge”, even if that is implied by the continuation of the pasuk.

    • Huh? 44 sec in to the first yeshivish example in the post it’s there. The lyrics are:

      זכרני נא, זכרני נא, וחזקני נא,
      אך הפעם הזה האלוקים, אך הפעם הזה.
      זכרני נא, זכרני נא, וחזקני נא,
      אך הפעם הזה האלוקים, אך הפעם הזה.
      ואינקמה, נקם אחת משתי עיני,
      נקם אחת משתי עיני מפלישתים.

      The neqamah part of the quote is very much within the song.

      • I was referring to the Miami version that doesn’t even have “nekamah” in the lyrics(type in “Bederech Hatorah” on the Mostly Music search box, then go to track 8, to hear some of the Kumzitz-type song). I actually like the tune of the song discussed here(from Dov Shurin’s “Nekamah/Biblical Revenge” 2002 album), and if there were different words, I could see it as appropriate for a wedding, as A. White discussed the issue on the CC post I referenced.

        For the opposite issue with the music source, because of its original words, possibly not being appropriate for davening, see posts on this website, “The Sharm Al Sheikh Kedushah”,(11/13/09), and “A Kedushah of Roses”(8/13/07).

        • Actually, if you like the tune but not the lyrics, “if there were different words” I would not “see it as appropriate for a wedding”. It would then be a more extreme case of the same class as Erev shel Shoshanim or Sharm al-Sheikh — being a tune not merely of secular (and thus neutral) origin, but of downright negative origin.

  2. It’s an interesting question– the origins and effect of the intent of the composer and of the singing by extremists, the innocuous intent in current American singing as discussed by R. Gil, and the lesser issue of mismatch to a wedding discussed by A. White.

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