Jerusalem of Gold

Jerusalem of Gold

Jerusalem of Gold

Jerusalem of Gold (Yerushalayim shel Zahav) is a well-known Jewish song. It is sung in Hebrew at the end of  Schindler's List and has  been described as Israel's second national anthem. The words sum up a  longing for Jersualem, the city of gold.   On a recent visit to Israel,  I walked to the Western Wall on a Shabbat evening through the Jewish quarter. As the evening sun caught the ancient stone walls, it really did look golden!


But the phrase has a far deeper meaning found in ancient Hebrew writings.  It means the longing to worship the One True GOD in the Temple of Jerusalem, together with  an eternal longing to worship Him in the Heavenly Jerusalem.  We believe this eternal worship is only possible through the Messiah, but we also long for the re-building of the Third Temple in Jerusalem here on earth soon.  Then believers from all nations will enjoy going up to worship the LORD in Jerusalem, with the Jewish people.


The Midrash (explanatory writings on the Hebrew Scriptures) states:  "The Third Temple has already been constructed in Heaven and merely awaits our preparations here on earth."


The Book of Revelation (in the Christian New Testament) states:  "I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from GOD, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband."    We are both longing for the same place!


   The following is a literal translation of the song "Jerusalem of Gold" from the Hebrew.



JERUSALEM OF GOLD

by Naomi Shemer


The mountain air is clear as wine

And the scent of pines

Is carried on the breeze of twilight

With the sound of bells.

And in the slumber of tree and stone

Captured in her dream

The city that sits solitary

And in its midst is a wall.


Jerusalem of gold, and of bronze, and of light

Behold I am a violin for all your songs.


How the cisterns have dried

The market-place is empty

And no one frequents the Temple Mount

In the Old City.

And in the caves in the mountain

Winds are howling

And no one descends to the Dead Sea

By way of Jericho.


Jerusalem of gold, and of bronze, and of light

Behold I am a violin for all your songs.


But as I come to sing to you today,

And to adorn crowns to you

I am the smallest of the youngest of your children (the least worthy)

And of all the poets born.

For your name scorches the lips

Like the kiss of a seraph

If I forget thee, Jerusalem,

Which is all gold.


Jerusalem of gold, and of bronze, and of light

Behold I am a violin for all your songs.


We have returned to the cisterns

To the market and to the market-place

A ram's horn (shofar) calls out (is being heard) on the Temple Mount

In the Old City.

And in the caves in the mountain

Thousands of suns shine.

We will once again descend to the Dead Sea

By way of Jericho!


Jerusalem of gold, and of bronze and of light

Behold I am a violin for all your songs.


A further translation by Chaya Galai is posted on the official site of

the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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