Hi Everyone! I hope this will be a successful year for all of us, and to start us off right let’s look at a relatively new phenomena – popular Israeli artists singing songs with religious themes and content. Kobi Oz may not be becoming religious yet, but compared to his previous songs thematically and semantically the overall tone is quite different. Compare, for example this clip of Tipex (also spelled Teapacks) singing their hit:
“I Have a Girlfriend”
and getting made up in drag with the song “Zalman, That’s Not You” available here, translation from Makon.
I appreciate the religious elements of the song as clever, although as someone who is religious. The thing I really enjoy though, is that despite the religious elements, you can also hear the left/socialist aspects of the song too. For example –
“You nouveau riche, don’t be down
Look up at the stars winking through the thatching
Your house is not you
Your wife is not you
Your status is not you
Nor is your land you”
Read in the context of the song of course, the religious elements come through strongly – but there is still a strong anti-materialistic element as well. While religion itself in my mind can support a wide variety of ideas ultimately, one can tend to forget that religion and religious ideas can also support left wing ideals as well.
As an aside, I should note that however strongly the religious overtones are in English, they’re stronger yet in Hebrew, as Oz uses several phrases that will be familiar to those who have read parts of the Bible in Hebrew. The Shabbat Bride is a commonly used term on Friday nights, particularly when singing the traditional “Lecha Dodi” song. Another fairly common phrase that has been interpreted to refer to God is “bat kol” – literally the daughter of a voice, often interpreted as God’s voice or a proclamation from God.
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