Ki Lo Yitosh – 1973

May 19, 2021

During Sukkos of 5734/1973, while the Yom Kippur War was still in progress, 2,000 Jews attended a large concert in Brooklyn College’s Walt Whitman Auditorium. The mood of the evening was subdued and depressed, since the news from Israel was not at all encouraging. Towards the end of the evening, one of the performers introduced a song already familiar to some in the audience. The song deeply touched the heart of every individual present. Two thousand Jews stood, sang, and clapped with such fervor and emotion that the walls literally trembled.

Six thousand miles away, as the outnumbered Jewish soldiers confronted the dangers of battle, they sang this very same song, for it expressed their essential motif of prayer and belief:
Don’t think that Hashem punishes His people because He has forsaken them, because Hashem will never abandon His people. He will not forsake His inheritance, the Jewish Nation. Save us, Hashem. May the King of the universe answer us on the day we call out to Him.

That song, which so profoundly expressed the hopes and prayers of Am Yisroel during that eis tzarah, was composed by a young Dr. Elli Kranzler, a composer and vocalist already well known for his involvement with many of the most popular Jewish albums of the time. Following its 1973 release on Kol Salonika’s Volume 2, Ki Lo Yitosh was immediately covered by the likes of The Messengers, MBD, and Dov Frimer’s Shivat Zion Band – just to name a few. Elli himself would record it on his album entitled “Shirei Eliyahu” in 1974. This song has since become arguably Kranzler’s biggest hit, with many mainstream artists still covering this tune nearly 50 years later.

For today’s post I thought we would feature probably the most famous rendition, that of Mordechai Ben David from his second record, Hineni, released mid-July 1974. While not his debut album, Hineni is widely considered his first ‘official’ release and indeed, it was this album that helped propel his name into the spheres of permanent superstardom.

The words that we say each morning in Yehi Chivod is the promise Hashem gave His people – the Jewish people – to forever protect them in the face of all danger. May this song and the meaning of these words give us tremendous strength in times of need.

Lyrics (Tehillim 94:14, 20:10):
כי לא יטוש ה’ עמו ונחלתו לא יעזוב. ה’ הושיעה המלך יעננו ביום קראנו

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