Exploring “Nikbat HaShiloach”

Exploring “Nikbat HaShiloach”

Nikbat HaShiloach

Words and music by Kobi Oz

℗&© Anana Ltd

On my way to the Nikbat HaShiloach(1)Want to immerse myself in the living watersI’m breathing air from the days of the KingsCrawl along your tunnel to the Nikbat haShiloachSoon I’ll take off my clothes(2)Waters are furious, sparkling, mischievousCrawling in your tunnels, JerusalemGurgling below, struggles aboveBattling for land and polluting the waterPerhaps my soul will find restHere in your tunnels JerusalemMaybe I will burst forth(3)and find the Kingdom?(4)How much of this is megalomania?How much is anthropology?How much is guilt?How much because my world is unclean?Her lips on the way to the lightTouching, I am drunk with coldWhen I come outWill I be pure?Will I have emerged a king or mule?Get out and towel off the waterWhere did I put my spectacles?Feel like myself, thank GodA crown did not await me, nor donkeysMy body full of strange sensationsNot entirely pure and not a saviorHow much of this is megalomania?How much of this is anthropology?How much is guilt?How much because my world is unclean?Her lips face the lightTouched, I am drunk with coldHere, I’m outsideNot very pureI have a feeling I might return בַּדֶרֶךְ לְנִקְבַּת הַשִּׁלוֹחַרוֹצֶה לִטְבֹּל בְּמַיִם חַיִּיםנוֹשֵם אֲוִיר מִימֵי הַמְּלָכִיםזוֹחֵל בִּמְחִילוֹתַיִךְ לְנִקְבַּת הַשִׁילוֹחַעוֹד מְעַט אֲסִיר תַ’בְּגָדִיםמַיִם שוֹצְפִים, רוֹשְׁפִים חָצוּפִים. זוֹחֵל בִּמְחִילוֹתַיִךְ יְרוּשָׁלַיִםלְמַטָּה פִּכְפּוּךְ לְמַעֲלָה סִכְסוּךְנִלְחָמִים עַל אֲדָמָה וּמְזַהֲמִים אֶת הַמַּיִםאוּלַי נַפְשִׁי תִּמְצָא מְנוּחָהכָּאן בִּמְחִילוֹתַיִךְ יְרוּשָׁלַיִםאוּלַי אֲנִי אָגִיחַ וְאֶמְצָא מְלוּכָהכַּמָּה מִזֶּה מֵגָלוֹמַנְיָה?כַּמָּה מִזֶּה אַנְטְרוֹפּוֹלוֹגְיָה?כַּמָּה מִזֶּה רִגְשֵׁי אַשְׁמָה?כַּמָּה מִזֶּה כִּי הָעוֹלָם שֶׁלִּי מְלֻכְלָך? שְׂפָתֵיהָ בַּדֶרֶךְ אֶל הָאוֹרנוֹגֵעַ אֲנִי שִׁכּוֹר מִקוֹרכְּשֶׁאֵצֵא בַּחוּץהַאִם אֶהְיֶה טָהוֹר?הַאִם יָצָאתִי מֶלֶךְ אוֹ חָמוֹר? יוֹצֵא וּמְנַגֵּב אֶת הַמַּיִםאֵיפֹה שַׂמְתִּי אֶת הַמִּשְׁקָפַיִם?מַרְגִּישׁ כְּמוֹ עַצְמִי תּוֹדָה לַאֵלכֶּתֶר לֹא חִכָּה לִי וְגַם לֹא אֲתוֹנוֹתבַּגּוּף יֵשׁ לִי תְּחוּשׁוֹת מְשֻׁנּוֹתלֹא לְגַמְרֵי טָהוֹר וְגַם לֹא גּוֹאֵלכַּמָּה מִזֶּה מֵגָלוֹמַנְיָה?כַּמָּה מִזֶּה אַנְטְרוֹפּוֹלוֹגְיָה?כַּמָּה מִזֶּה רִגְשֵׁי אֲשֵׁמָה?כַּמָּה מִזֶּה כִּי הָעוֹלָם שֶׁלִּי מְלֻכְלָך? שְׂפָתֵיהָ בַּדֶרֶךְ אֶל הָאוֹרנוֹגֵעַ אֲנִי שִׁכּוֹר מִקוֹרהִנֵּה אֲנִי בְּחוּץלֹא מְאֹד טָהוֹריֵשׁ לִי הַרְגָּשָׁה שֶׁעוֹד אֶחֱזֹר.

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Guiding questions for “Nikbat HaShiloach”

  • Are there any places in the world that you feel have an intrinsic power, holiness, specialness?
  • Have you ever visited a place that left you transformed in any way?
  • Have you ever visited anywhere in Israel with a similar concerned expectation of self-transformation?

Kobi Oz undergoes a powerful experience in the waters, yet in the end he emerges more or less unchanged. Some talk of a visit to Israel as an “immersion” into an intense and overwhelming Jewish experience, yet on return to their Jewish life in the Diaspora – outside of the inspiring “waters” of the Jewish State – they find it difficult to reach such poetic heights.

  • Is this similar or different to your feeling on leaving Israel?

Kobi Oz considers four motivating factors for why he visits Nikbat HaShiloach: Meglomania, Anthropology, Guilt, and a feeling that his life is dirty.

  • What reason might you offer yourself for visiting Jerusalem?

How would you say this song sees the connection between the biblical Land of Israel and the modern State of Israel?

How would you say the song expresses the connection between a spiritual Jerusalem, and the humdrum day-to-day Jerusalem (Yerushalayim shel maalah, Yerushalayim shel matah)?

  1. Nikbat HaShiloach is an underground waterway (sometimes known as Shiloah, or Siloah) fashioned in the days of Ezekial, that acted as the water source for the ancient city of Jerusalem.
  2. The Jewish purification ritual of Mikveh involves naked immersion in natural sourced water.
  3. The Hebrew for ‘burst forth’ is a play on the word Gichon – the name of the river that feeds Nikbat HaShiloach.
  4. The song plays with the fear of the Jerusalem Syndrome. This is a medically recognized syndrome, where visitors to Jerusalem suddenly are convinced they are Jesus, or King David, or some other historical/mythical hero.

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