B’erets yisrael

The song serves as an example of the type of song sung at youth organisation centres in Łódź, known as hakhsharah – training programmes for immigration to Erets Yisrael (Palestine at that time).  Youth activities continued in their pre-war form for nine months in the ghetto, until Rumkowski ordered the hakhsharah closed and every member was sent home.


According to Arieh Tal Shir, formerly Tishler (who sings this song here) and other members of the hakhshara, singing was an important group activity.  Collective singing of a variety of songs enhanced the strong ideology that emphasised the group over the individual.  Sharing and working together for immediate survival and for the future formed the core ideal of the groups, and gave cohesion to the youth organisations.  Singing at youth movement gatherings served more than any other means as an escape mechanism from the desperation of ghetto life.  


Arieh was aware of the ideology and the escapism, and therefore underestimated the songs he sang as valuable for any musicological research.  However, this song represents escapism at its best: it's in Hebrew – which most of the group did not know – and it speaks of love, nature, and Erets Yisrael: the land of Israel, the promised land.


Every member of a Zionist youth group hoped to emigrate to Israel, though they all realised they would have to undergo more suffering once there.


The song is probably a fragment of another song or several other songs.  It confuses the love of a woman for a man with the longing of the Children of Israel for their homeland.

בעד ארץ ישראל מוכרחים לסבול
אני אוהבת וסובלת
ואתה אינך מרגיש
פרחים לי לקטוף אצא
כי בפרחים את ליבי ארפא

Be’ad erets yisrael mukhrakhim lisbol
Ani ohevet vesovelet,
Veatah einkha margish,
Prahim li liktof etse
Ki baprahim et libi arape.

For Eretz Yisrael one has to suffer,
I love and suffer,
And you don’t care.
Flowers I will pick up
And with flowers I will heal my wounded heart.