Music > Song of the Day > Chad Gadya

Chad Gadya

 Sung for Shoshana Damari on the program, "Three in One Boat"

Chad GadyaDan Almagor wrote this sharp song about "one rude and stubborn goat, who just wanted to graze in peace".

Moshe Wilensky put the sardonic poem to music and turned it into an upbeat and happy, sing-able song about the survival of the goat and dog. In the Passover Haggadah the goat is eaten, the cat bitten, the dog hit, the stick burned, the fire extinguished, the water drunk, the ox slaughtered, the angel of death killed and in the end, only God remains to rule alone.

According to Dan Almagor, the song was written in light of Ben Gurion's decision to evacuate the Sinai Peninsula after the Sinai War (29th of October-5th of November, 1956). At the end of 1956, there was international pressure being put on Israel to evacuate the peninsula and Ben Gurion bowed to those pressures. The northern "fish" that appears at the end of the song is an allusion to the General Secretary of the U.N. at the time, Dag Hammarskjold, who was Swedish in origin and who oversaw the evacuation.

The song was published in 1957. The manuscript of the song well as the original recording from the 5th of April 1957, right after the retreat which occurred a few days before Passover, are in the Wilensky Archive.

This song is the violinist Isaac Perlman's favorite song. According to Almagor, Isaac Perlman was discovered in 1958 by Ed Sullivan during the broadcast of a special program in honor of Israel's ten-year anniversary.  Perlman was a child prodigy hand-chosen by Sullivan to play on the program. He chose to play this song. It is possible that this could be the reason that Perlman remembered the song fondly.
Song of the Day
Song of the Day
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