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Story Behind The Song: Olam Chesed Yibaneh

At our first preview worship service on July 14, we sang “Olam Chesed Yibaneh” by Rabbi Menachem Creditor. We sang it first in Hebrew and then in English, repeating the lyrics over and over as follows: 

Olam Chesed Yibaneh…
I will build this world in love...
You must build this world in love...
If we build this world in love...
Then God will build this world in love.

Creditor wrote this song for his daughter who was born right after the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. He was thinking about the world that she would grow up in. He saw all this hatred, all this violence and suffering, and he longed for his daughter to grow up in a world of love — to grow up seeing the beauty in the world instead of (or despite) the evil.

“Olam Chesed Yibaneh” is a song of resistance, a song of hope, a song that declares, "I won't stand for hatred" but instead "I stand for love."

Creditor recognized that to build a whole world of love starts with an individual. When I build my world in love, when I surround myself in positivity and share goodness with those I encounter, I make the world around me a little brighter, and in turn encourage you to do the same. And when we together build each other and the world around ourselves in love, God will work in us and through us. We know that God's love is greater than our own, and God offers this love unconditionally, without exception. In turn, we are called to share this love with everyone we meet — to be the light of Christ by loving our neighbors as God first loves us. That's what this song is about. 

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At our preview service on the 14th, we also read the story of the Compassionate Samaritan who stopped to help his hurting neighbor, a Jew, on the side of the road. Jews and Samaritans historically despised each other, and yet this Samaritan puts those differences aside to care for this man like one of his own.

We still see divisions like this all around our country and around the world today, where people put up walls to separate or push others out because they look differently, talk differently, love differently, worship differently, etc. In a time when our social media and news outlets are filled with stories of violence and suffering, I can't help but think that Creditor’s song and message is just as relevant today as it was when it was first written in 2001. Imagine what our world would be like if we all had the same compassion as the Samaritan and loved our neighbors without exception… just like God loves each and every one of us.

Brent Levy1 Comment