Pop star and Kids TV Channel darling Eden Ben Zaken offered a poignant musical choice when she showed up on YouTube’s Stay Home #WithMe channel, and sang the Passover Seder staple “Vehi Sheamda” to the haunting, soaring tune composed by Yonatan Razel.
“We’re all home this Passover, so I also joined this international effort and in honor of the initiative and the Passover holiday, I’m singing ‘Vehi Sh’Amda,” said Ben Zaken at the start of the video.
Filmed at a studio, Ben Zaken, who is nine months pregnant, can be seen with her gloves on, accompanied only by a keyboardist in the small sound room.
Yonatan Razel, an ultra-Orthodox, classically trained pianist and singer who turns liturgical poems and prayers into song, gained fame around 2009, when he set “Vehi Sheamda” to music for Orthodox singer Yaakov Shwekey.
The song was awarded “Song of the Decade” from religious Israeli radio station “Kol Chai,” and became popular with all kinds of listeners, religious and secular, as did Razel’s other, later music.
It’s become an anthem for Passover in Israel, familiar to both religious and secular Israelis, played incessantly on the radio in the weeks before the holiday, and in covers by other singers.
Razel sang “Vehi Sheamda” just a few weeks ago with fellow singers Akiva and Natan Goshen.
נרגש לשתף אתכם בביצוע מיוחד לשיר "והיא שעמדה" יחד עם עקיבא ונתן גושן המקסימים. בימים המאתגרים הללו המילים של השיר מקבלות משמעות חדשה.איחולי בריאות טובה לכולנו וחג פסח כשר ושמחיונתןעקיבא – Akivaנתן גושן – Nathan Goshen
Posted by Yonatan Razel – יונתן רזאל on Monday, April 6, 2020
During the performance at the Zappa music club in Tel Aviv, at which Akiva hosted Razel and where singer Goshen also appeared, the audience wouldn’t leave until Razel and the others sang “Vehi Sheamda” as one of the encores.
Razel shared the special cover of the song on his own Facebook page, writing that he was moved to share it, as in these challenging times the words of the song take on new meaning.
Akiva also wrote about it on his own Facebook page, saying that the words of the song are as relevant as ever during this particular Passover, when the coronavirus feels like a threatening plague of the unknown and with uncertainty affecting everyone worldwide.
That which stood for our ancestors applies to us as well.
For it was not only one individual who stood up against us to destroy us.
Rather, in every generation they stand up against us to destroy us.
But the Holy One, Blessed Be He, redeems us from their hands.
(Translation by Eve Levavi)