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Bastille Day


The musical composition below has had great success. Composers such Liszt, Schuman, Tchaikovsky, Rossini have used it. The famous Jazz guitarist, Django Reinhardt also used it, and the national anthem of France, the Marseilles, was included in the first satellite broadcast of the Beatles' song "All you Need is Love". In honor of the 14th of June, Bastille Day, we present you with the national anthem in its Jewish-traditional context.

The Marseilles was originally called "A War Song for the Army of the Rhine".  It was composed on the 25th April, 1792 in Strasbourg, in order to impassion the local population against the German incursion. Very soon after that it became the call to arms for the French Revolution and at the end of May, it was sung by the volunteers at Marseilles, which is where it received its final name.
Surprisingly, 200 years after it was composed, the tune made its way from revolutionary France to the world of Jewish liturgical poetry. The French tune wandered to Brooklyn, New York. There, the night after Simchat Torah, 1973, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitch Rebbe, taught his followers a new tune to "Ha'aderet V'Ha'emunah" - a liturgical poem said during the morning prayers on the Sabbath and holidays. The tune was entirely French- the Marseilles.
And if this is not enough, the Marseilles also serves as the tune to the liturgical poem "Domiyah v'libi y'lahev" among the Jews of Djerba. The version below is from a recording made by the scholar Avigdor Herzog in 1963, performed by Victor Barda.
Song of the Day
Song of the Day
The songs presented here come from the National Library's extensive collection of songs, prayers and other musical works. The songs are preserved and made available via the website with the assistance of the Legacy Heritage Fund.