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YouTube’d memories: Toda

When my Uncle was emigrating a couple of years ahead of us, he left me a handful of cassette tapes for my new shiny tape recorder (which he himself had bought for me in New York on his voyage there several months prior). Among those tapes was an album of pop songs in Hebrew by someone named Benji1.

I became quite enchanted with the 35-minute tape and the 10 songs on it, regularly featuring it in my playing rotation. My exposure to Hebrew was practically nil at the time (it is very close to non-existent even today) and I had no idea what the lyrics were about. But something about the melodies and the sound kept drawing me in.

Toda was my favorite. The title means simply “Thank you”. With time I learned the lyrics to recognize that the repeating first lines of each verse (Toda al kol ma shebarata, Toda al ma sheli natata) have clear undertones of worship, but the rest of the song poetically recounts blue skies, friends, flowing songs, child’s laughter, and other heart-warming things to be thankful for in life. In 1989, I knew nothing of the lyrics. Which did not preclude me from memorising the vocals and singing them out occasionally. Years later, I was pleasantly surprised by how close my “interpretation” came to the real Hebrew text…

The video of the song that I found on YouTube is by a more easily-searchable Haim Moshe.



1 I always assumed that he was an Israeli pop star, but I cannot locate an Israeli singer named Benji on the web. Benjamin Disraeli comes up instead…


  1. Brian Greenberg

    My wife is better with Hebrew than I am, but I’m pretty sure that “kol” means “all,” and “ma” means “why?” (as in “Ma nishtanah…” – why is this night different than all other nights…)

    Not that this helps translate the lyrics much… 🙁

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