The sound of a wheel – Israeli music

The Polish-Jewish Maurycy Gottlieb's oil painting "Jews praying in synagogue on Yom Kippur" from 1878. Photo: Wikipedia

The Polish-Jewish Maurycy Gottlieb's oil painting "Jews praying in synagogue on Yom Kippur" from 1878. Photo: Wikipedia

Just thought I’d introduce some Israeli music. A great Israeli band, which unfortunately are no longer playing, called Shotei Ha’Nevua (sometimes also transcribed Shotey HaNevua) which means Fools of Prophecy. They played a lot of good songs, and in my opinion several that are better than this one that I’ll present here, but this one I is perhaps one of their most famous tunes.

I’ll try to translate the text but it is taken from the Kabbalahs “Sepher Zohar” which is a bit obscure and complicated. It is therefore difficult to make a correct translation, but I’ll do my best to re-write the text and convey and reproduce the literary qualities.
For your convenience, I also added a small dictionary at the bottom of the post, as this article contains some words that may not be used in everyday speech…

You’re probably not wondering about the following, but I can pretend that you wonder at it, and thus commit a well-known literary grip where I ask a question and then answer it myself – thus giving me an opening to present more detailed information on the subject. Prepare yourself for the literary grip:

You’re probably asking yourself:  “What in the world has the Polish-Jewish Maurycy Gottlieb’s oil painting “Jews praying in synagogue on Yom Kippur” from 1878 to do with an article about a song of the Israeli band Shotei HaNevua?”

Well, the reason that this illustration was chosen is that the song include a Shofar. A shofar is a horn of a ram, which is blown on holy days as “Yom Kippur” – a day where one is to reconcile ones sins.

Shofar

Shofar

“The sound of a wheel “
“The text comes from the Zohar (Hebrew זֹהַר [Zohar] radiance) – a group of books regarded as the pivotal work in Kabbalah – the Jewish mystical tradition.

Zohar is a commentary on the Torah, the five books of Moses. Zohar and Kabbalistic tradition, and it’s based on the stories in Genesis can be understood on four levels:

  1. The actual story
  2. the underlying meanings and allegorical explanations
  3. The religious teachings, and the Fourth:
  4. Sod – the secret, esoteric level.

Zohar is a comprehensive work, with many individual texts and text types. The various books that are part of Zohar exegesis includes both the Theosophical theology, mythical cosmogony, mystical psychology, and which can be viewed as anthropology. The work includes a discussion of the nature of God, the universe’s origins and contexts, the soul of the properties, sin, salvation, the problem of evil, and similar topics.

The work is probably written in Spain at the end of the 1200s, by Moses de León (c. 1250 to 1305), but traditionally ascribed to Rabbi Shimon bar Johai who lived in Galilee sometime during the 3rd century Common Era.

A selection from the Zohar – from the work’s comments to the creation stories in Genesis – is published in Norwegian in the collection Jødiske skrifter, 2002 (Jewish writings, 2002).

Sepher Zohar or Glory Book is said to be the most authoritative Kabbalistic work, but this massive series of books is apparently so obscure and symbolic that it almost borders on the incomprehensible.

Shotey HaNevuas song Kol Galgal – ‘The sound of a wheel’ – describes a spiritual world in motion. I have seen the text translated into English as ‘The sound of a circle’, but perhaps ‘The sound of a wheel’ is better, since the text mentions wagons? Anyway the noun galgal can refer to both the wheel, circle, sphere, etc. (Wheel, sphere, orb, cycle, pulley, hoop, helm).

sound of a wheel comes rolling up from the depths,
obscure wagons coming rotating / rolling.
The sound of melodies go up and down. The walk and walk in this world. The sound of the shofar extends through the scale / stairs the depth, and the circle spinning.
It is the sound, the sound of a wheel that goes up and down.

 

A small dictionary (dictionary.com):

  • Allegory (Middle English allegorie  < Latin allēgoria  < Greek allēgoría,  derivative of allēgoreîn  to speak so as to imply something other),
    1. a representation of an abstract or spiritual meaning through concrete or material forms; figurative treatment of one subject under the guise of another.
    2. a symbolical narrative: the allegory of Piers Plowman.
    – Allegorical, mind allegorical or symbolic.
  • Esoteric (Greek. esoterikos , inner),
    1. understood by or meant for only the select few who have special knowledge or interest; recondite: poetry full of esoteric allusions.
    2. belonging to the select few.
    3. private; secret; confidential.
    4. (of a philosophical doctrine or the like) intended to be revealed only to the initiates of a group: the esoteric doctrines of Pythagoras.
  • Exegesis (Greek exḗgēsis  an interpretation, explanation)
    Critical explanation or interpretation of a text or portion of a text, especially of the Bible. Exegesis is a theological discipline in which biblical texts are interpreted. Commentary and problem discursive review of a biblical text.
  • Theosophy (Medieval Latin theosophia  < Late Greek theosophía. Theos – or god – sophia , wisdom).
    1. any of various forms of philosophical or religious thought based on a mystical insight into the divine nature.
    2. ( often initial capital letters ) the system of belief and practice of the Theosophical Society.

Movie clip – the making of a shofar:
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4127973,00.html

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