A Closer Look At Yael Naim: “Come Home”
October 7, 2011 at 2:16 pm, by Jonah Rank
After quite some time suffering this malaise, the singer-songwriter met David Donatien. “David gave me good advice,” she told those of us in the audience. “He said, ‘Yael, don’t be sad.’”
Over this gleeful bounciness, a band of horns and a chorus of Yael Naims build up a suspended tension of harmonies.
Caught between pressure and comfort, Naim sings about a family spread out over multiple places and points of view: each person asking another to “come home.”
The dispersed nature of the many voices here and the vacillation between familial love and dysfunction all paint a poignant picture. This is not merely an illustration of Naim leaving Israel for France, this is the struggle for personal independence amidst tight family bonding.
Each time Naim sings, “Come home,” I imagine the distance between the static home and the moving self.
In Pirkey Avot, Rabban Gamliel (son of Rabbi Yehudah Hannasi) teaches, “ve’al tadin et chaverakh ad shettaggi’a limkomo” (“Do not judge your peer until you have arrived at your peer’s place”). In other words, do not judge someone unless you are standing where they are standing—in their place.
Yael Naim is not telling her family to back off. She is telling her family to come closer.
“Let’s try to look at each other / Find one another,” sings Naim. She wants her family to stand in her place. Only with this insight into the life of the other will Naim find shelom bayit—peace in the home.
Naim’s song is too catchy, too sad, and too happy for me to try to convey in words.
If you haven’t heard the song, don’t be sad. Listen to the song so you can arrive at the place where Yael Naim stands today. Then only can you judge.
To understand, you must come home.
P. S. I know it’s a bit disconnected, but whenever I watch the music video for Naim’s “Come Home,” I am reminded of the scene from Home For Purim in Christopher Guest’s mockumentary For Your Consideration.