The Golden Gate of Mercy

One of Israel’s greatest musicians wrote a song so packed with emotion that it moved a nation.

By Anat Schneider | | Topics: Music
Meir Banai's song about the Golden Gate of Mercy is packed with emotion.
Photo: Moshe Shai/Flash90

If you do a simple Google search for “Gate of Mercy” you will encounter an image of a sealed stone gate in the eastern section of Jerusalem’s Old City walls. This isn’t just an ordinary gate once used for entering and exiting Jerusalem’s ancient city limits, but it has a special purpose in Jewish tradition. Judaism holds that the gate will once again be opened for the coming of the Messiah in the last days, riding on a white donkey. It’s even believed that Elijah the prophet will lead the way, marching into Jerusalem ahead of the Messiah.

The following song, written and performed by Israeli artist Meir Banai, touches on the Gate of Mercy, but actually speaks to a very personal, metaphoric gate. This gate, not made of the more than 1,000-year-old stone, is one of spirit and compassion; of dreams and outcry.  Gates of Mercy serves as a metaphor for an emotional journey that Meir Banai is undergoing. As he is wandering through the Old City of Jerusalem, the ancient gates raise waves of feelings and emotions that lead to one of the most beautiful pieces of Israeli music.

The intensity in Banai’s singing reflects his outcry, bursting out from the storm of his deep-felt emotions. The heartfelt words point to his search for redemption. Naturally, love is embedded in this redemption, as it is an integral part of the Gate of Mercy. Some say that the song is so deep that one can feel that Banai experienced an actual revelation.

Meir Banai lived from 1960-2017 and is one of Israel’s most influential artists. He was a musician, songwriter and actor. Banai’s big break came in 1987, after which he produced several albums and subsequently became a cornerstone in Israeli culture.


Sha’ar HaRachamim (Gate of Mercy)

Walking in the Old City

With noise coming from every corner

I already know, already know my way

The way to the Gate of Mercy

I’m not looking around

I’m not listening

I am a dreamer

And have always been one

But I already know, already know my way

The way to the Gate of Mercy

I live once, only once

There’s a point, there’s no point

With strength, without strength

The Gate of Mercy

Come with me together

Come through the fear

For you too are a part of

The Gate of Mercy

The signs above the shops

Observe the streets

In my heart there is a big outcry

Show me the gate of mercy!

I live once, only once

Listen to the song here

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