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We’ve Been There Before

"You’re not standing alone, We’re all standing with you.”

The group 8TH DAY has this knack for packaging elevated messages and concepts in chassidic thought into contemporary lyrics. The song “King David” on their recently released EP, says Shmuel Marcus, is based on the chassidic idea that the Torah is not just historical, but a living book that’s actually the story of each person’s life and struggles. “Dovid Hamelech faced Goliath, and he was the first one to do so. Moshe Rabbeinu faced Pharaoh, even though he was scared that first time. Eliyahu Hanavi faced off with the prophets of Baal. All these encounters make it easier for us to face our own Goliaths, the challenges we encounter at each various stage of life. Once the tzaddikim did it — and the Torah lets us know that they did it — it helps us all in our struggles.”

“It’s tough to be 15, they won’t let you in, 

the pressure of all eyes on you. 

They shame you they blame you, 

might drive you insane, 

but they’re calling you

by the wrong name. 

It’s tough to be 20, no answers or clues,

but somehow you know what to do.

I know I read your story,

I bought your book at the store,

You’re facing Goliath,

but you’ve been there before!”

“We’ve all read the book and we all know how the story ends,” Bentzi offers. “It ends with victory over Goliath. And that paves the way for you.” But we don’t just feel daunted by our struggles, we often feel like we are facing them alone, as if our challenges are unique. That’s why the words

“So, face your Goliath, tell him it’s true,

You’re not standing alone,

We’re all standing with you.”

are a comforting reminder that even as a challenge is personal, it is often universal, too.

Originally, Bentzi wanted to use another set of words as a bridge, the rhetorical question from Chazal: “Masai yagi’u ma’asai lema’asei avosai… when will my deeds reach those of my forefathers?” But in the end they decided to go with all-English lyrics, keeping the message relatable for everyone.

“…King David, Elijah, Devorah Haneviah, they’re telling you, 

I remember a time when I was you…”


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 948)

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