In "Generations", from Shalsheles V (and released as a single), the first verse is about a Holocaust survivor with his great grandson.

It's Friday night, peace descends
Shalom Aleichem, their voices blend
As young and old sing in harmony
To watch their faces in the candles' glow
The child, his sweet voice does flow
Mingling with his Zaidy’s in melody

And Zaidy smiles, filled with pride
His great-grandson at his side
One can see the fire within his eyes
It’s the spark of all of those
who have survived to build their lives
With memories of six million left behind

And then the chorus is about... generations.

It's generations, and generations
links in a lasting chain
Klal Yisroel, growing stronger
rebuilding again and again and again

Footsteps of our great past
our guide through the sorrows and pain
God will not forsake us
our hopes and our dreams will always remain

I'm having trouble seeing how the chorus relates exactly to the first verse in particular, and the rest of the song as a whole. How does the verse lead to the chorus?

1 Answer 1


The song is about the resilience of Jewish community and tradition even in the face of the Holocaust. The degree to which the Holocaust destroyed European Jewry is hard to fathom. In 1939, there were 9.5 million Jews in Europe; as of 2020, that figure is only 1.3 million. The staggering difference demonstrates enduring effects of both the Nazi's brutal attempt to exterminate all Jews, and the anti-Semitism the survivors still face on the continent.

Despite this, the Jewish community has endured and even thrived. The zaidy's surviving the Holocaust is itself a sign of strength. But it signifies not only his personal fortitude, but the endurance of the Jewish people as a whole:

Klal Yisroel, growing stronger
rebuilding again and again and again.

The fact that the zaidy is standing beside his great-grandson is a symbol of that endurance. Six million perished, but there are still new generations being born, and there always will be. The image of the Holocaust survivor next to his great-grandson shows that God is with the Jews. He will not forsake them, and even when the community undergoes great calamity, He will ensure that the "lasting chain" linking all Jewish peoples together will not be broken.

The persistence of this chain depends on both genealogy and historical memory. What makes the Jewish people a community is not just the fact of parentage, but their shared history. The zaidy is not just a progenitor in the lineage that the great-grandson belongs to. He is a repository of the cultural memory of Jewishness, a memory that is ineluctably marked by the Shoah. The four generations celebrating the Sabbath ritual together are not just the individual story of this family, but form part of the chain that links together all generations of Jews back to Abraham. The movement from the opening verse to the chorus makes that linkage explicit.

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