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Solemn Remembrance in Israel

‘How Shall I Bless Him.’

3:15 PM, May 4, 2014 • By ARYEH TEPPER
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Yom Hazikaron, Israel's Memorial Day, begins on Sunday night. Israel's Independence Day follows immediately thereafter on Monday night. "Ma Avarech" (English translation: "How Shall I Bless Him") is a song written by Rachel Shapira in memory of her classmate, Eldad Krook, who was killed during the six day war in 1967. The song is traditionally performed on Yom HaZikaron in honor of those who have fallen. The number now stands at 23,169. You'll find a translation of the poem below. 

Here is Amir Benayoun, an Israeli vocalist, performing the song in 2010: 

In the studio, together with the program's host and hostess, is Rabbi Amos Netanel, whose son, Capt. Jonathan Netanel, fell during the operation in Gaza in January, 2009. Here is how Rabbi Netanel remembered his son after his passing (via Ynet, Jan. 6, 2009): 

"He died for Kiddush Hashem (the sanctification of God's name). Keep doing what you have to do, proceed with courage and might. He had integrity and morality wherever he went. Militarily, he was an outstanding officer, he was infused with a deep faith in God and the righteous path."

The father added that, "Yoni was raised on religious nationalistic Zionism, this is what grew inside him. He was educated at a Yeshiva for the youth. He was deeply infused with a strong faith. He wanted to be recruited for the best, he wanted to go to Sayeret Maglan (unit 212). He graduated successfully, received honors in the brigade, took an officers' course and wanted to reach the brigades where he said the combat was real. His soldiers admired him. About two years ago he received honors in the division."

The father spoke of the bitter moment in which he received word of his son's death. "Last night I went to sleep with the feeling that this could happen. Just before 5 am officers arrived at the house, I was up and studying at the time.""

Ma Avarech (How Shall I Bless Him), by Rachel Shapira

How should I bless him, with what should he be blessed?
Is it this boy? The angel asked (2X) 

And he blessed him with a shining smile
And he blessed him with big seeing eyes
To catch every flower, animal and bird
And a heart to feel all he sees 

How should I bless him, with what should he be blessed?
Is it this youngster? The angel asked (2X) 

And he blessed him with legs to dance 
And a soul to remember all the rhythms
And a hand that collects shells on the beach
And a listening ear for old and young

How should I bless him, with what should he be blessed?
Is it this young man? The angel asked (2X)

And he blessed his powers with experienced hands
To succeed in controlling the power of steel
And legs to dance along the journey
And lips singing the rhythm of command 

How should I bless him, with what should he be blessed?
Is it this man? The angel asked (2X)

I gave him all that I could give
A song, a smile, and legs to dance with
A soft hand and a beating heart
And what else should I bless you with?

How should I bless him, with what should he be blessed?
Is it this boy, the soft young man? (2X) 

This youngster, is an angel now
Will not be blessed any longer, not blessed anymore
God, God, God -
If only you blessed him with life!
 

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