Hashivenu Theme Song | Reconstructing Judaism

Hashivenu Theme Song

Music

Hashivenu by Jewishrecon

This is the theme song to the Hashivenu podcast, composed by Chana Rothman

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About the Source Text

Part of many synagogue services is taking out the Torah and reading from it. After the reading is complete, we return the Torah to the ark where it is stored, and we sing melodies, sometimes quite modern, to ancient text. The last line of this part of the liturgy says hashivenu adonay elekha venashuvah “Help us turn to You, and we shall return.” Hadesh yamenu kekedem “Renew our lives as in days of old.”

This verse is a powerful demonstration of the resilience encoded into Jewish life. The original text is very old. It’s from the end of Eichah, the Book of Lamentations, composed after the destruction of the first Temple in 586 BCE. Eichah literally means “how,” as in “How can this terrible national tragedy have happened?” and much of the book we can read as a howl of pain, though this line contains some hope, some efforts at meaning making. It is extraordinary — for its sentiments, and also for its reconstruction. Jews who go to synagogue say the line often, but its original context is masked to most of us. The medieval authors who created the original Jewish prayer book mined the Bible for sources as they crafted liturgical poetry. This verse’s inclusion in the Torah service — likely sometime in the Middle Ages, perhaps 1500 years after its original composition — was one path toward renewal, drawing on old sources and applying them in different ways. For this podcast, we expose its roots once again, as part of an invitation to live with the verse’s double nature — consolation in the face of desolation, and inspiration, as a call toward activism.


About the Musical Setting

The music was created by Chana Rothman for the Hashivenu podcast. Many settings to this verse are in the minor key; some are quite meditative or even mournful.  Chana was asked to compose this melody in a major key — more upbeat, orienting us toward realistic optimism that is one of the hallmarks of resilience. We hope the words and the melody stay with you.

Please visit Chana Rothman’s websiteFacebook page and YouTube channel.

Music, Spirituality

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