Ad D’lo Yada Between This Way, That Way, Or That


You may be familiar with ad d’lo yada, the Aramaic term for the Purim tradition of drinking so much you can’t distinguish between the Purim story’s hero, Mordecai, and its villain, Haman.

What you are likely not familiar with is Israeli musician Amir Benayoun and his plaintive song of the same name, which describes a man who drinks until he can’t tell the difference not between Haman and Mordecai, but between “what happened and what didn’t happen,” “between a minute and an hour,” “between place and time,” and between “whether he’s living or whether he died.”

But Benayoun doesn’t only sing about intoxication. In 2011 he made waves for recording 3 Arabic songs for Syrian opposition leaders, who embraced them as their own. But unlike DJ Noy Alooshe whose mega-viral “Zenga Zenga” drew unexpected connections between Israelis and Arabs earlier that year, Benayoun’s politics veer firmly to the right. His 2010 “I’m Your Brother” is a musical assault on Israeli leftists who, in pure ad d’lo yada style, he paints as enemy and brother all at once.

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