4HQ – The Four Hatikvah Questions
The penultimate line of Israel’s national anthem can be broken down to four essential questions that encompass all we need to celebrate and question: Lihiyot | Am | Chofshi | B’Artzeinu – To be | a People | Free | In Our Land. This frame presents the creation of the State of Israel as the re-introduction of four interlocking questions into the Jewish world, an appreciation of which can deepen and enrich the larger Jewish experience.
Lihiyot - To Be?
What does it mean for us “To be”? What does it take to survive, and how can we thrive? What threats do we face? Is existence only guaranteed through fighting? Must it be?
Am - People?
What does it mean to be part of the Jewish collective (Jewish People)? How can we be joined to our evolving religious tradition? How can Jewish solidarity be played out in the contemporary era? In what way should our Jewish values be embodied in the world?
Chofshi - Free?
What does it mean to be Free? What rights do we need to claim? How does democracy play out in Israel? How do we take responsibility? What can we innovate and how do we create?
B’Artzeinu - In Our Land?
And what does it mean to live In Our Land? In what way is land important? What makes a land “ours”? Where is our homeland and what makes it holy? What happens when others claim the same land?
The frame of these “Four Hatikvah Questions” (4HQ) both offers clarity and affirmation as to the wonder of the State of Israel, while at the same time offering a shared conceptual space within which to address key questions of Jewish existence that take on Jewish Peoplehood on the one hand, and the centrality of Israel on the other. Gone are the days in which a single set of answers will enliven the Jewish People as a whole. But a single set of questions which all must continue to answer – in their own different ways – is a way to connect between our differences.