STLT#146, Soon the Day Will Arrive

I was hoping Jacqui James would bail me out today.

I was really hoping there would be some long explanation of the origins of this song – that the lyricist, Ehud Manor, had written this in response to a particular moment/tragedy/event that I could expand upon, or that the composer, Nurit Hirsch, had discovered an ancient melody that she modernized in a unique way.  Something. ANYTHING to capture my interest as we come to the close of this seemingly endless section In Time To Come.

But no, in Between the Lines, James has written simply this:

Well hell.

Okay, so there’s no there there. It’s just another song expressing belief in a better tomorrow. In case we didn’t have enough of those already in the hymnal.

Now be clear: I like this one. I am fond of whatever quality it is that makes Jewish music distinctive, despite being not at all Jewish. It’s easy to sing, it’s got better than decent lyrics, and it’s going to be with me all day because of its prime ear worm qualities. I have used it and will used it. I just don’t have anything else to say about it. It’s a song. A good, decent, hopeful song.

Soon the day will arrive when we will be together,
and no longer will we live in fear.
And the children will smile without wondering whether
on that day thunderclouds will appear.

(Chorus)
Wait and see, wait and see what a world there can be
if we share, if we care, you and me.
Wait and see, wait and see what a world there can be
if we share, if we care, you and me.

Some have dreamed, some have died to make a bright tomorrow,
and our vision remains in our hearts.
Now the torch must be passed with new hope, not in sorrow,
and a promise to make a new start.

(Chorus)

I guess Freud was right. Sometimes a song is just a song.

(And sometimes a sunrise behind a tree is just a picture to use because no other images come to mind.)

12 Comments

  1. There is a third verse. I cannot recall how I found it:

    And the vines, they will grow,
    And the tender leaves will blossom,
    And the fruit of our hands will be sweet.
    And the winds that bring change,
    Will clear away the ashes,
    And all brothers will go forth to meet.

    Sounds vaguely biblical. Like Trees of the Field, which has words from Isaiah 55:

    You shall go out with joy
    And be let forth with peace,
    And the mountains and the hills
    Will break forth before you.
    There’ll be shouts of joy
    And the trees of the fields
    Will clap, will clap their hands.

    I think both of these are horas.

  2. I actually had a different reaction to this song. I think there’s two kinds of hope: the hope that’s based on facts; some tangible evidence that things will get better; the “heady” type of hope, if you will. And then there’s the hope that is just a feeling, an intuition, I guess you might call it a “spiritual” hope – the belief that people will, and in fact, are already in small degrees, moving toward goodness, humanity, compassion, love, what I believe is our natural state. I dunno, call me a cockeyed optimist. Or maybe the sun, the clouds and the trees are hitting me in a certain way today. Check in with me tomorrow 🙂

  3. This is one of my all-time favourites. I direct an elementary school children’s choir (as well as directing the choir at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver) and have taught them this song many times, using a Hebrew arrangement by Leck. We sing it in Hebrew, then the two verses from our hymnal, then again in Hebrew. I would often program it for the school’s Remembrance Assembly and there would not be a dry eye among the adults by the end.

  4. Here is what I found when researching this song: Israeli lyricist Ehud Manor wrote a poem about his younger brother who was killed in battle in 1968. He did not disclose his inspiration when he asked composer Nurit Hirsch to set it to music, and she wrote an upbeat tune which became a classic Rosh Hashanah song. The Hebrew title is Bashanah Haba’ah and it’s literal translation is “Next Year”. Our hymn #146, Soon The Day Will Arrive, uses a poetic translation, but the original text sings of both sadness and hope that next year, the new year, will be better.

  5. The song was written by Ehud Manor in memory of his younger brother, Yehuda Wiener (1949-1968), who was killed in a tank battle by Egyptian gunfire in the Sinai Desert. The English “translation,” as usual, is far removed from the Hebrew words.

  6. Joe WolfArth says: I learned this song in church – specifically, Community Unitarian Universalist Church in New Smyrna Beach, Florida – where I have been a member since 2002. I love the wistfulness of the melody, and I know that for Me anyway the thing that always came to mind was that the children saw “thunderclouds” – but the
    Adults recognized something much more ominous in the distance – Mushroom Clouds! [I always thought ‘living in fear’ was an allusion to the threat of a nuclear attack…] – it seemed like a song about surviving the ‘Cold War’ – to me, specifically… I didn’t know about the Origins of the song, and when I learned it, I was unaware of the expression “Next Year – in Jerusalem!” that is a part of the Judaism and its recognition of the value of Hope.
    Then something happened that blew my mind. In the Summer of 2013 I traveled to Louisville, Kentucky to represent my church at the U.U. General Assembly there… I was serving as a Board Member of my church and simultaneously serving on the CUUPs National Board, and we had put together a Summer Solstice Worship Service for GA that year of which I was very proud… In that Service, together we sang a Spiritual of my own composition – “Given to me by the Angels” – as I like to say – inspired by the wonder and beauty of the natural world. I stayed in a penthouse-level condo that several of our CUUPs USA Board members were sharing space in – thanks to AirB&B – in a historic building called the “Henry Clay Building” – early 20th century, gorgeously elegant in its architecture; the building had a boutique-style store on its ground floor where one could purchase homemade jam, baked goods and other lovely things. My dear friend Imari Kariotis was sharing a room with me (one evening we laughed together so long and hard that the others knocked on the door to our room to ask us to “keep it down” – I Treasure a friend with whom I can laugh like that!!!) and literally on my Last Day in Louisville, Imari insisted on bringing me to see this wonderful little ground-floor shop and meet the two adorable ladies who ran it. I picked up a CD of music by a local band and studied it. I didn’t know what “Klezmer Music” WAS, but I felt sure I would Learn more about it if I bought the CD. It had no marked price; I work in a retail store myself and my boss always insists that everything we sell should be clearly marked, as a courtesy to our customers. I asked the shopkeeper to tell me what the CD I was holding Cost, and she said, “Hold on a minute, I will find out – we’re selling it on Consignment…” At this moment Imari approached me and informed me that we needed to leave. I said, “I Need a Minute. I picked up this CD and I can’t put it down! Imari, Someone “Upstairs” wants me to buy this! But if it exceeds what I’m willing to Spend… well, we’ll see…” The shopkeeper hung up the phone and said, “It’s ten dollars.” I said, “Of Course it is!” [Because that was EXACTLY how much I had decided I was ‘willing to spend!’ LoL] I purchased the CD, thanked my friend for waiting for me, and told the nice lady what a wonderful shop she had… and then we left.
    Fast forward a few months… I am back in my home in Daytona Beach, Florida… it’s Autumn… I find the still-wrapped CD by the Louisville Klezmer band and I recall vividly the day I bought it. I read the liner notes as I listen to the CD and I begin to be educated about klezmer music and its historic roots (very moving – IMHO – Drums, Trumpets, and other Horns were forbidden instruments in Klezmer bands, I read, because during the Pogroms ‘Beyond the Pale’ the Czarists were fearful that music with a “military” sound and beat could be used to incite a rebellion among the oppressed Jews of Eastern Europe…) finally, as the CD is approaching its end, I hear a tune that I know intimately because I have sung it in my church Dozens of times – and I WEEP! THIS is that Tune! [And I Understand PERFECTLY why I had been Compelled to buy this CD – “out of the blue!”]

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