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Monday, 13 January 2014

Sharon Interred in Mother Earth

Ariel.SharonAs so much has already been written about Israel’s late, great former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, I want to look at something  different – an incident at his funeral today that I found strange and beautiful.

Towards the end of the ceremony, after the  grand political speeches, the prayers and his sons’ eulogies, there was a serene, still moment when  Miki Gavrielov sang Ima Adama - Mother Earth.

The Sharon family had asked that Gavrielov sing the ballad just before the interment as it describes the  warm embrace of earth.

This clip, published by The Times of Israel, features Gavrielov with Kobi Aflalo.


I was astounded that the Orthodox Israeli rabbinate allowed the performance because in the U.K., secular music and readings are outside Jewish funeral custom. But ritual is vastly different here in Israel, where interments are generally made without coffins and I have seen flowers laid at gravesites. So while I was surprised to see Sharon interred in a coffin, I have to suppose that the wreath-laying was not outside the norm.

I have been interested to note, however, a view aired by a member of the ultra-Orthodox Chabad movement, Eliezer Danzinger who says:  “At traditional Jewish funerals, songs are not sung. As far as I know, there is no prohibition against singing songs at funerals; it's just that, in fact, singing is seldom done. (There is the occasional funeral at which a soul-moving melody can be heard, but this is the rare exception, rather than the norm)”.

I close with the English translation of the lyrics to Mother Earth as I consider that they make a very fine poem:

Miki.GavrielovMother Earth

She will look at me, in a good wise look
As a look at a son who came home from the road
she will hug me to her with a warm breath
Mother Earth.
She will say: "You are tired from the journey
don't be afraid, I will bandage your wounds"
she will take me to her when I call her name
Mother Earth.
She will look at me, in a good wise look
so quiet, and always forgiving
she will hug me to her with a warm breath

Mother Earth. Kobi.Aflalo


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