On successive Fridays, March 1st, the 8th, and the 15th, a new documentary was released in areas with major Jewish populations (New York City, South Florida, and Los Angeles). You’ve probably heard Hava Nagila before. You’ve probably even danced to this traditional Jewish folksong. They’ve somehow made an entire movie about it. From the trailer, we think it looks awesome.
As a participant at many Jewish weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs and even silly, spontaneous after-school enterprises with Jewish friends, I’ve danced my share of Hava Nagila. However, it wasn’t until writing this that I read the translation of the words (which I now know I’ve been partially mispronouncing for the last twenty-three years):
Let’s rejoice and be happy
Let’s sing and be happy
Awake, awake, brothers!
Awake brothers with a happy heart!
Awake brothers, awake with a happy heart!
With a happy heart
What’s ironic is that we as a Jewish people have undergone so much suffering, yet we still celebrate at various milestones in each other’s lives. And why is that so? Because after a history of persecution from every side, we can see that our God has sustained us so that we might accomplish His good purposes. Ultimately this meant bringing forth the Messiah, whom we believe is Jesus, who suffered on our behalf so that we can rejoice in Him today and have a direct relationship with God. One Jewish writer put it this way:
“For Messiah also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.” (1 Peter 3:18).
For joy that lasts longer than a melody, we invite you to accept God’s sacrifice for you! It was given so that all people could rejoice. L’chaim!