Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
It's difficult to choose a single most-loved song among the hundreds penned by Yoram Taharlev who passed away yesterday at the age of 83. "On His Palms He Will Bring," "Only a Prayer Will I Carry." "Ammunition Hill," "Your Wonders Have Not Yet Ended" and many, many other meaningful slices of Israeli life and history.
However, there is one song of his that always stirs me, even when hearing it for the umpteenth time. It's called "Shade and Well Water." Yoram was a 9-year-old child on Kibbutz Yagur when he suddenly saw a large group of weary people approaching the kibbutz on foot. The year was 1945 and the people were Holocaust survivors who had arrived on a boat from Europe and, after landing, had escaped from the British, who still ruled here during that time and had restricted Jewish immigration. The kibbutzniks responded swifty: They welcomed in the refugees, put kibbutz clothes on them, and hid them throughout the kibbutz. Within a few minutes, the refugees were indistinguishable from the sabras and the British had no chance of identifying them. This incident was engraved in the heart of Yoram and, forty years later, he wrote this song.
"The hungry one will find a slice of bread, the tired will find shade and water from the well, the one whose house is falling down will come quietly through the door, welcome to stay forever."
This song has everything in it: Jewish solidarity, rescue of brothers and sisters whom you do not know but with whom you share a deep, inviolable bond. It's also about authentic children's education, based not only on words but on experiences where proper conduct is demonstrated, especially in welcoming guests which is actually welcoming our brothers, as depicted in the closing words of the song:
"Whoever comes is our brother, will sit down with us at the table, and for him our gate will never be closed."
And this is just one song. Thank you, Yoram.