הדמע | Ha-dim'a | The Tear (1912)
Artist: Abraham Zvi Idelsohn (1882-1938)
Tune: Sephardic Tune
This song was published in Mikraot Le-Talmidim Be-vet Ha-sefer U'be-vet Ha-av [Reader for Pupils in School and at Home], edited by Ben-Ami (Simha Ben Zion 1870-1932); (Odessa: 1905: pp. 3-4).
In this song, a mother's tear falls upon her son's palm when he confesses that he has committed a sin. This tear, the text tells us, will never be forgotten. “Ha-dim'a” can be understood as allegorical, depicting the relationship between God and the people of Israel, who were punished in exile and seek to return to their homeland, Zion.
The tune is adapted from a Sephardic Jewish melody, a liturgical piyyut sung to the lyrics of Ahot Ktana [Little Sister]. This piyyut is sung during the Rosh Ha-Shana [New Year] service in Sephardic synagogues.
In 1923, Idelsohn included this melody in the fourth volume of his Thesaurus of Oriental Jewish Melodies: Songs of the Oriental Sephardim (Leipzig, 1923: no. 187).
The melody is based on a tetrachord D-G, which imparts a modal flavor to the song.