An Israeli Singer Cries Out to God

In a heart-rending song of hunger for God Hanan Ben Ari opens the window of his soul and asks the God of Israel, “What do you want from me?”

By Anat Schneider | | Topics: Music
Photo: Creative Commons

When this song came out on the radio and on YouTube it caused quite a stir among Orthodox Jewish Israelis. [Click and GIVE it a listen. You will hear the emotion even without understanding the words.]

So Hanan Ben Ari explained in a video, the reason for the seemingly irreverent lyrics of this heart-rending song expressing hunger for God.

“I have lots of explanations and analyses,” Hanan Ben Ari told his fans. “But that’s not interesting, because in the end what a person feels when he hears the song is what matters and not what I meant.”

“When you love someone and are connected to them, you talk to them the most openly and honestly in the world. Sometimes it hurts.”

He went on to say that precisely from the place of difficulty, real friendship gets stronger and more intense. He gave an example of a difficult conversation he had with his own father.

This is exactly how Hanan feels about relationship with God – that it gets stronger precisely through the difficult places he experiences in his life, and from the honesty he brings before God.

Hanan Ben Ari was born and raised in Karnei Shomron (in Samaria of the so-called West Bank). He grew up in an orthodox Jewish household and studied in a yeshiva religious school. His father was the head of the Karnei Shomron Council. His father, a cantor, influenced Hanan’s musical career. Already at the age of 13 he began to create music and become well-known.

In 2013 he started appearing in concert and has not stopped since. He married Hadass, started a family and today has 5 children who give him daily inspiration for his writing and songs.

During the Corona period he started receiving Shabbat on Facebook with his daughter. Every Friday at two o’clock before Shabbat began they would perform the best of his songs live for the people of Israel.

Thousands upon thousands of spectators and fans anticipated these Fridays to sing and rejoice with his family.

Hanan Ben Ari is one of the most prominent singers in Israel today. Although he is religious, he is able to connect hearts and bridge the gaps between different sectors of the population, thanks to his personality and thanks to his wonderful songs.


What Do You Want From Me

(English translation from the original Hebrew lyrics, with minor modifications,

Protect me from myself
Keep me real
All the prayers, empty words
We’ve had enough silence, now speak.

What do You want from me?!
What? What?!
Who asked You to throw a soul into me?
Why not come by this afternoon…
Hug me, look into my eyes?

You promised that You’ll always be
the light at the end of the darkness.
Piano in the sand, I just can’t anymore
I’ve tried enough, now it’s Your turn.

Tell me…
What do You want from me?!
What? What?!
Who asked You to throw a soul into me?
Why not come by at dusk…
Hug me, look into my eyes?

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