Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Inspired by Haunting Israeli Woman ... Haunted by Inspiring Israeli woman

Kol Ha Neshama (Maor Zohar 2007 Mix) - Ofra Haza

Press play and listen to the above song (a remix) as you read the post below. It's my latest 'song-I-can't-stop-listening-to'. I wonder what she is saying ...

Years ago I was over at the house of a friend who had great taste in music and therefore a great CD collection. On this particular day he put on one of his CDs at full volume and one of the most haunting female voices I'd ever heard slowly flooded the house and my senses. My hair raised and I said "Wow! Who is that?!" It was Ofra Haza, the popular Israeli singer (1957 - 2000).

Just now, while writing this post ... out of curiosity, I went to Google to find out how Ofra had died so young. I was surprised to see ... died of internal organ failure related to AIDS, February 23. But why was I surprised? 'Surprised' isn't really the word I'm looking for. I jumped when I read the cause of her death ... and since then some dots are starting to connect ...

It's hard to put into words what I'm feeling right now, listening to her voice ... along with this new realisation of her cause of death (which it seems, from various sources, was shrouded in mystery and conspiracy). I started writing this post with the sole reason of sharing her song with you ... but now, hearing how she died is inspiring me in an unexpected way ... for the (work) project I am about to embark upon/started conceptualising yesterday (the second of two videos I've been contracted to do on women, children and HIV/AIDS) with my P.A. for the project - Patti-Ann Ali (whose initials ironically are P.A.)

Timing is perfect for Ofra to step in.

Some may wonder what the connection is between a deceased Israeli singer and a Trinbagonian film on women, children and HIV/AIDS. It is the connection of SPIRIT and ENERGY that truly inspires. It is inexplicable and can come from anywhere ... the most remote thing, place or person. We need to be open to it when it presents itself and not close off the possibilities it offers. Listen to Ofra's voice. Even though I don't understand what she's saying, the deeper meaning inherent in her tone reaches me clearly. On a feeling level we understand what the intellect can't begin to comprehend. She is projecting something Universally powerful and directive.

I can't explain more than that, but maybe you understand where I'm coming from.


Wow! Just looked up the translation of the title of her song ... Kol Ha Neshama (see below). The song on its own is powerful, but the beat and energy in the remix gives it a different intensity which I also find infectious ...

The phrase "Kol HaNeshama" comes from the last verse of Psalm 150, the Psalm that many of us know simply as "Hallelu", perhaps the most joyous of all the Psalms. We chose it for the name of our synagogue both because of the text itself and the way it opens itself to English translations and interpertations.

The Hebrew spelling of "Kol" is K-L, Kaf-Lamed, meaning "all".

The root of Neshama, N-SH-M, Nun-Shin-Mem, means "breath" or "breathing", thus a "living thing".

The simple meaning is: "Every living thing" (will praise God). Some have expanded this to "The breath of every living thing praises God."

The translation in our prayer book, which just happens to be named Kol HaNeshama, is "Let every living thing Yah's praises sing".

Another translation would be "all that breathes" or "all of humanity", signaling a universality in Judaism that includes all of humankind as one entity.


Anonymous said...

AMAZING music. Thank you so much for sharing!

Lynn Cohen said...

I think Neshema also is
soul...it is beautiful music, and I wish my Hebrew was better so I could translate it for you.
A touching story you tell here...what a connection.

Elspeth said...

Yes, Lynn. I also saw the Soul meaning somewhere that that phrase means "All of the Soul, the Whole Soul".