“Heart Song” for the Broken-Hearted

A vulnerable, visceral, musical window onto the spiritual climate in Israel

By David Shishkoff | | Topics: Music
Israeli singer Hanan Ben Ari singing to God.
Israeli singer Hanan Ben Ari singing to God. Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

As we have reported in the past (here, here and here), there is a recurring phenomenon of “heart” songs sung as prayers by Orthodox Jewish singers becoming mainstream secular hits in Israel. “The Broken-Hearted” is another song of poignant adoration from Hanan Ben Ari in that tradition (official video).

Hanan sits at the piano looking up and singing to God with longing inspired by the Hebrew scriptures, but expressed in a very vulnerable, visceral and personal way. Near the end you will hear what sounds like a “gospel choir.”

It’s not only secular Israelis who are being inspired. The YouTube comments include a surprising message by an Iraqi named Maitham Muneer: “I am an Arab from Iraq and I liked this sound and the melodies that [sic] I even changed my view of the Israelis, I don’t know why Arabs hate Israel !!” Another similar YouTube comment by Omer Ibrahim: “I don’t understand anything he says, but I love Hebrew so much . And the song is very good makes u feel calm💙”

Literal translation with lyricstranslate.com:

Who knows every pain? [Is. 53:3]
Who can heal the broken heart? [Ps. 34:18]
Creates light and darkness [Is. 45:7]
Makes peace and warfare?

Who sits on the judgement seat?
Clothes himself in mercy?
Pardons and forgives?
He knows all, and all he sees? [Ex. 2:25]

And who? Who will heal my heart?
For whom do I long?
Like a sea that has no shore?
Just tell me who?
Will embrace me and ensure?
That I will not give up in the end…

Who was, and is, and will be?
Puts to death and brings to life? [Deut. 32:39]
Opens arms
Sprouts wings

And who will heal my heart?
For whom am I longing?
Like a sea that has no shore?
Just tell me who?
Who will embrace me and ensure
That I will not give up in the end?

Featured on secular Israeli singing contest

This song was also translated interpretively and sung in English (!) in a secular Israeli singing contest by an young unknown contestant named Tamir Greenberg. It propelled him into the semi-finals while causing one of the judges to shed tears.

Interpretive translation as sung by Tamir Greenberg in secular singing contest

He that knows the pain I’m in
Who can heal the broken.
Brings light and darkness
makes peace and judgement.

You that guides my soul,
shrouded in the fog.
Forgives and forgets
believes and accepts.

And if
if you let me see
who am I to be,
I feel like a stone
washed up on the shore.

Tell me that you will
care for me. I fear
for my life. Promise me that I won’t disappear.

Who is now and always will be
who brings life and resurrects
with open hands
with warm embraces.

And if
if you let me see
who am I to be,
I feel like a stone
washed up on the shore.
Tell me that you will
care for me. I fear
for my life. Promise me that I won’t disappear.

Oh oh oh oh oh oh
If you let me see
who am I to be
I feel like a stone
washed up on the shore
tell me that you will
care for me. I fear
for my life. Promise me that I won’t disappear
promise me that I won’t disappear
promise me that I won’t disappear.

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