Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Ha-baita: Going Home

The Hebrew word bayit means—among other things—“home.” The Hebrew word ha-baita, which means “homeward,” is the theme being played exclusively right now on Radio 3, the national Israeli radio station that plays only Israeli music. Just about every song Radio 3 is playing right now speaks of the joy and relief of coming back home after having been away. Kama tov she-bata ha-baita—it’s so good you’re home. Ani hozer ha-baita (actually, a translation of a popular Italian song, I believe)—I’m on my way home. Yonatan, sa ha-baita—Yonatan, head home. One after another, popular and beloved Israeli songs about coming home, going home, being home. Soldiers coming home from Lebanon, residents of the northern region coming back from the places throughout the country where they had taken refuge from the rockets. Ha-baita. Home.

(You can listen to Radio 3—“Reshet Gimmel” in Hebrew—over the Internet here. Just click the flashing orange/white speaker on the bottom right portion of the banner, toward the middle.)

Today after work, I was supposed to join a friend in singing for people from a northern community who were staying in her area. I got a message from her this morning: the performance is off because the audience got to go home. It’s the best reason for cancelling a gig that I can think of!

Yet in the middle of all this is the grim knowledge that this is only a temporary break. Since our hands were tied before we had the chance to deal properly with the enemy, they will be back. And once that happens, I think it will be a long time before the radio station returns to its relieved and joyful theme of ha-baita.

See Treppenwitz for an excellent analysis (as usual).

I know that this sounds pessimistic. But I honestly don’t see any other outcome at this point.

So in the meantime I’ll listen to all this beautiful Hebrew music and pray that I will soon be eating my words.

But I don’t think so. Not really.

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