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Rav Kook’s Alternative Anthem: Faith instead of Hope

Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook, Chief Rabbi before Israel was re-founded, wrote “The Faith” as an alternative anthem to HaTikvah (“The Hope).
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 5/10/2011, 4:34 PM / Last Update: 5/10/2011, 4:30 PM

Israel news photo (file)

Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook, the Chief Rabbi before Israel was re-established, poet and philosopher of world renown, wrote the poem “The Faith” as an alternative anthem to HaTikvah (“The Hope).

Rav Kook respected secular Zionists and felt there was holiness in their work, but he did not like their proposed anthem, HaTikvah, which was chosen by the Knesset and has since become accepted among religious as well as secular Zionist Jews all over the Jewish world.

His alternative HaEmunah (The Faith) anthem mentions the name of the Creator, which HaTikvah does not, and refers to the three Jewish holiday "pilgrimage" festivals – Passover, Shavuot (Pentecost) and Sukkot (Tabernacles) during which, when the Holy Temples stood, Jews came to Jerusalem to celebrate.

Written in the early 20th century, this alternate national anthem for the State of Israel places the Torah as the central component of the Jewish People's return to its land (Eretz Yisrael), and sees this process as a bigger step for the redemption of Israel, and by extension, the world

Following is an English translation. The original Hebrew poem is in rhyme and is replete with Biblical terms which are lost in translation:

Eternally there lives in our hearts, 
The steadfast faith
That we will return to our holy land,
The city in which David settled.

There we shall fulfill our destiny,
[which the] Father of many [nations] acquired,
There we shall live our life
The life of the nation of multitudes.

There we shall serve our G-d
With joy, happiness and song
There we shall pilgrimage
Three times each year.

The Torah of life is our desire,
Given by a Heavenly voice,
Forever it is our heritage,
A gift acquired in the desert.