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  5. "התשמע קולי?"

"התשמע קולי?"

Translation:Will you hear my voice?

June 22, 2016



This in an Israeli song called "Zemer Nugeh":

התשמע קולי / רחוקי שלי / התשמע קולי / באשר הינך /



This beautiful song was chosen by Rona Ramon, the wife of the first Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon RIP, to be played in the space shuttle Columbia. After the disaster, this song became very associated with his memory.


I think this recording is related to his memory https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAlsX1AGe3A

  • 861

Although this is written as if it's in the future, this phrase is actually in the present. It's not asking whether at some point in the future you will hear my voice. It's asking whether you are hearing my voice in general and specifically whether you are hearing my voice now.


The translation says 'Will you hear my voice?' Are you saying the future tense is used with present meaning in formal Hebrew?


One of the things I really like about Israel is how poems often become popular songs you can hear on the radio. This is a particularly famous example. This particularly iconic phrase comes from a poem (as zdVs below pointed out) written by the famous early-ish 20th century poet Rachel Bluwstein-Sela‘ (commonly known as רָחֵל הַמְּשׁוֹרֶרֶת, ‘Rachel the Poet’); it was one of the last ones she wrote, when she was dying of tuberculosis, longing for a past lover she separated from in WWI. In the original version of the poem she said she would wait ‘like Solveig’ (from Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt), as she compared herself to the character in her letters quite often, but decided to change it to ‘Rachel’ (like in the Book of Genesis) because she wanted a Jewish simile rather than a European one.

I’m not a fan of Bluwstein myself (her poems are almost exclusively about how miserable she felt; she openly admitted in one poem, ‘my world is as narrow as that of an ant’), but the poem this phrase is taken from is a pretty good poem, or rather a good (and very popular!) song.

Here is the more famous rendition (you might recognise the man on the left as ultra-famous singer Arik Einstein, who passed away in 2013), and here is the original (although less popular) musical version, with a different tune.


What is the reason for the "ה" preceeding the תשמע?

  • 861

Not a very common thing in speech. The ה here is short for האם, the factual question word.

It's the "are you" in "are you hearing my voice". This is a line from a song.


I see now. Thanks for responding to this question so quickly, my gever. Fleshed out all the way, I now assume we are really looking at:

האם אתה תשמע קולי

  • 861

Yes, except that it is a question about the present, not the future. It's more continuous aspect than tense. An ancient form.


ג'וזי כץ.


What is the idiomatic meaning of this short question?

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