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Naftali Herz Imber
Artist Name
Naftali Tzvi Imber

Naftali Herz Imber  Biography

A young man from Galicia, named Naphtali Herz Imber, inspired by the founding of Petah Tikvah in 1878, wrote a poem about his feelings. A farmer from Rishon LeZion heard the poem and enjoyed it so much that he promptly set it to music. The song, originally called “Tikvatenu” (Our Hope), later became “Hatikvah,” the national anthem of the State of Israel, lifting the spirits of Zionists around the world for over a century.

Naphtali Herz Imber was born in 1856 into a Hasidic family. He received a traditional education, and left home at an early age to wander around the world. He came to Palestine in 1882 and stayed for six years writing essays, poetry and articles for Hebrew periodicals.

Tikvatenu, one of Imber’s most popular poems, was first published in 1886, although it had initially been read in public as early as 1882 to a group of farmers in Rishon LeZion who received it enthusiastically. Among them was Samuel Cohen who was born in Moldavia. He decided to set the poem to a traditional Moldavian-Rumanian folksong called “Carul cu Boi” (Cart and Oxen).

During the 1880’s in Palestine, many tunes and adaptations became folksongs, no one thinking of copyrights. The “Tikvatenu” melody thus quickly became anonymous, and Imber’s association with it all but forgotten.

“Hatikvah” was sung at the conclusion of the Sixth Zionist Congress in Basle in 1903, the last congress presided over by Theodor Herzl, who died tragically the following year.The anthem was sung at all subsequent Zionist Congresses, and at the 18th Congress, held in Prague in 1933, it was officially confirmed as the Zionist anthem.

In 1892, the poet Imber settled in America, where he was married for a brief time. It was here that his second volume of poetry appeared in 1900 together with Talmudic literature translated into English. In spite of these intellectual achievements, however, he found it impossible to make a decent living in New York City, and in 1909, he died in poverty.

His poem lived on, becoming the unofficial anthem of Jewish Palestine under the British mandate. At the Declaration of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948, “Hatikvah” was sung by the assembly at its opening ceremony.

The words of “Hatikvah” have a timeless relevance for Jews everywhere, reinforced by both good and bad experiences – reinforced by wars and peace treaties alike. Naphtali Herz Imber’s words are as old as the Jewish people itself, yet they are also as young as the State of Israel, which took them to its heart.

8 thoughts on “Four Divine States of Mind”

  1. I am reaching out to you on behalf of Saiph Stars, a non-profit organization developed for children battling illnesses, providing them with resources such as videos, songs, games, magazines, etc. to entertain and inspire them while undergoing treatments during their long hospitalizations.
    BH, we have a wide range of performers, singers, storytellers such as Yakov Shwekey, Mordechai Shapiro, Ari Goldwag, Baruch Levine, YBC, Uri Davidi, Rabbi Ashear, Rabbi Lish, Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation, Rabbi Erps, Rebbee Hill, Rabbi Pesach Krohn, and many more who have joined our project by allowing us to use their material. In addition, subscriptions such as Mishpacha, Binah, The Circle, Spotlight, JWOW have all joined our project as well BH. All the material will be uploaded to locked iPads and is streamed thru the Saiph Stars App designated to be used by these children.
    We would love to include your material as it would mean a lot to the children.
    Please check out our website for more info at http://www.saiphstars.com.
    It should be a tremendous zechus for you! Looking forward to hearing from you soon!
    Shulamit

  2. Felice Glazer says:

    I was just sitting at my piano looking over a very old book of songs called the songs we sing by Harry Cooper Smith. I got this book when I went to Anshe emet Sunday school in Chicago. That was in the late forties and fifties. This book is falling apart but I love it and will never part with it until I pass away. Something today just made me decide to look up the name of Harry Coopersmith and that’s how I found this site.

  3. Philip Joseph Brody says:

    Joseph Brody was my great grandfather. Murray Brody was my grandfather and Joseph Brody was my father. I am Philip Joseph Brody born in Queens N.Y. My halfbrother Brian is a saxophone player. Unfortunately I think musical talent skipped me. My great grandfather died before my father was born. Unfortunately my father died around 59 years old. I’m about to be 52 so hopefully I won’t pass before my time.

  4. MARTY KUGLER says:

    Is there any way that I can get the lyrics to Semour Rockoff’s song “Der moiled vet zein.” I know about half the words, but I no longer have the record. I’ve been searching for the lyrics for over 40 years.

  5. MARTY KUGLER says:

    Is there any way that I can get the lyrics to Semour Rockoff’s song “Der moiled vet zein.” I know about half the words, but I no longer have the record. I’ve been searching for the lyrics for over 40 years. Thanks, Marty Kugler maak68@gmail.com

  6. Steve Sonshine says:

    I had the extreme privilege of attending Band and Orchestra classes taught by Mr. Musiker while attending J. Madison H.S. in Brooklyn, N.Y., from ’63-’65. I, with my fellow percussionists, listened and learned about music, ensembles, and respect, …all lessons taught by Mr. Musiker.
    I am so happy to read of his successes. He deserves them all.
    Mr. Musiker, you are COOL
    with affection,
    Steve Sonshine, Reg. Archt.

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