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Naftali Herz Imber lived here

In honor of Israel Independence Day this week, Israelandyou, decided to let you in on the latest updates on the author and composer of our national anthem, Hativah. There is more there than you think. According to tour guides, the lyrics of our national anthem “Hatikvah” were written in Iasi (Romania), Daliyat el Karmil on Mount Carmel (where Imber is said to have dallied with Laurence Olifant’s wife Alice),Rehovot, Gedera, Yessod Hamaala and the Moshava Rishon Lezion among many other places. Imber visited each settlement and sold them again and again that same one anthem. Each settlement claims that the national anthem was written just for them. One thing is true that Imber did live here in Rishon Lezion in the Heisman House.

Imber wrote a nine-stanza poem named Tikvatenu [Our Hope]. The song became the two-stanza anthem of the “Hovevei Zion” and later of the Zionist Movement at the First Zionist Congress in 1897, and eventually the official anthem of the State of Israel. 

Naftali Herz Imber - Heisman House
Naftali Herz Imber – Heisman House
Naftali Herz Imber - lived here
Naftali Herz Imber – lived here


 Revised text of  Hatikvah

In 1905 Yehudah Leib Matman Cohen revised the second stanza to produce the text that we know today.

Revised text of Hatikva
Revised text of Hatikvah
Revised text of Hatikva
Revised text of Hatikvah

Who composed the melody of Hatikvah?

There are many theories about the melody of Hatikvah. Shmuel Cohen is said to have set the words of Tikvatainu to a Romanian folktune. Others suggest that the melody is based on a Sephardi piyut (Jewish liturgical poem) or  the Sephardic version of Birkat Tal, the prayer for dew, written by Rabbi Yitzchak Bar Sheshet in Toledo in 1400. The melody accompanied the exiles from Spain to Italy in 1492. Can any of our loyal readers send us more information, perhaps a link or a recording, of this Sephardic Birkat Tal precursor to Hatikcah?

Listen to a few of the links in the Hatikvah DNA.

Shmuel Cohen - Melody of Hatikva
Shmuel Cohen – Melody of Hatikvah

La Mantovana, a 16th-century Italian song by Giuseppe Cenci (Giuseppino del Biado)

Polish Dance  – A Renaissance lute piece by Bartlomiej Pekill

Ukrainian Kateryna Kucheryava

Czech folk song “Kočka leze dírou”

Bedřich Smetana: Má Vlast Moldau (Vltava)

Musicologist say that Smetana’s melody is based on the Czech folk song above.

As you can see this is a wandering melody which passed from country to country – Anglican England!

Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence Traditional hymn for the Eucharist

Romanian song Carul cu boi

Samuel Cohen himself recalled that the melody of Hatikvah based on the melody from a Romanian song ,Carul cu boi [The Ox Driven Cart].


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