Yerushalayim shel zahav (ירושלים של זהב) (English translation)

English translation

Jerusalem of Gold

Versions: #1#2
The mountain air is clear as wine
And the scent of pines
Is carried on the breeze of twilight
With the sound of bells.
And in the slumber of tree and stone
Captured in her dream
The city that sits solitary
And in its midst is a wall.
Jerusalem of gold,
and of bronze, and of light
Behold I am a violin
for all your songs.
We have returned to the cisterns
To the market and to the market-place
A ram’s horn (shofar) calls out
(i.e. is being heard) on the Temple Mount
In the Old City.
And in the caves in the mountain
Thousands of suns shine -
We will once again descend to the Dead Sea
By way of Jericho!
Jerusalem of gold,
and of bronze and of light
Behold I am a violin for all your songs.
But as I come to sing to you today,
And to adorn crowns to you (i.e. to tell your praise)
I am the smallest of the youngest
of your children (i.e. the least worthy of doing so)
And of the last poet (i.e. of all the poets born).
For your name scorches the lips
Like the kiss of a seraph
If I forget thee, Jerusalem,
Which is all gold…
Jerusalem of gold, and of bronze, and of light
Behold I am a violin for all your songs.
Submitted by dammoon on Mon, 01/08/2011 - 04:39
Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (3 votes)

Yerushalayim shel zahav (ירושלים של זהב)

Rick J    Mon, 01/08/2011 - 09:14

Few comments:

1. The translation to english is good but not great, there are few words that i would modify as they are surely not the direct/correct translation.

2. The song original singer isn't -Ofra Haza-!!
It was written and composed by -Neomi Shemer- and the original singer was -Shuli Natan-.
Since it was introduced in 1967 there have been dozens of versions and -Ofra Haza- was just one of the artists that performed it, she isn't known for this particular song, and her version wasn't a popular one at all!!!
So i would change the name of the performer.

p.s. Later on it was discovered that the composition is actually partly based on an old Basque folk song.

dammoon    Thu, 27/09/2012 - 07:55

thanks dear Rick J
i will be more than glad to read your own translation
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mishehu    Sun, 11/08/2013 - 19:46

I have the original lyrics of this classic song in a collection by Naomi Shemer published in 1967 as Kol HaShirim - All the Songs (which she modifies with the word "kim'at" - almost). The stanzas of the first part of the original song (orignal because it was composed before the 6 Day War for the Festival of Song in May 1967) are actually a lament for the old city, lonely and bereft. After the reunification of Yerushalayim, Naomi Shemer added new happier stanzas harkening back to her original lyrics but now the sun is shining and the shofar is blowing at the Kotel. These happier lyrics are now used - but they are not the original lyrics. You can obtain this book which contains music and guitar instructions as well as (untranslated) lyrics for 40-odd early Shemer songs on Amazon.

dammoon    Fri, 16/08/2013 - 12:13

Great thank you very much
Regular smile

Sister Charlotte    Tue, 07/06/2016 - 23:48

Thanks so much for this. I am studying Hebrew, and this was a great help!!!
2 questions why "Behold I am a violin for all your songs"? If I read the Hebrew right it is, "for all your songs I am a violin" and I couldn't find "hi'neh" "behold" just trying to understand only 5yrs study..but love this song, love Israel and Jerusalem!!! And really appreciate finding this!!!

Thomas222    Sat, 14/04/2018 - 17:28

This is a beautiful translation, I see no problem here. Wonderfully poetic, and with great explanations.

อาทิตย์    Wed, 19/09/2018 - 19:05

Really appropriate translation with helpful explanations for people who aren't familiar with figurative Hebrew.