This past year I got hocked on this earworm by the Shira Choir. I dare you to listen to Im HaShem LoYivneh Bayit without singing it all week.
The lyrics come from two verse in Psalms. There we read:
אם-השם, לא-יבנה בית– שוא עמלו בוניו בו
אם-השם לא-ישמור-עיר, שוא שקד שומר
If the Lord did not keep the city, the watchman are awake in vain (Psalm 127:1)
Some say both these Psalms in their liturgy from Sukkot to Passover. I have been thinking about this recently with the rise of a third Intifada in Israel, Jews are experiencing a resurgence of Antisemitism in Europe, and the persistence of gun violence in America. These situations and this song both ask us to think about the need for a Divine Protector. To what do all of our efforts to build a safe environment for our children amount?
Since we have been blessed with Libi in our lives, I cannot utter her name without thinking about the current situation in Israel. As often Adina and sometimes I get up in the middle of the night to deal with our children I can relate to God’s fatigue in God’s role as a protector who does not rest or sleep. At this time of the year as we say goodbye to the Sukkah and retract to the safety our homes for the winter I hope that we do not forget the truly precarious nature of our existence. I would love to take comfort that God is a protector and that all of our efforts are not in vain, but until that time we need to work for peace and safety and stay ever vigilant. At the least I have shared with you a nice tune to keep in your head as you are awake standing guard.