The Morning Star and Leah Goldberg’s Doe

When Leah Goldberg was 8 years old she started learning Hebrew in Kaunus (Kovno) Lithuania, and after only six months she learned the language! She turned to be the first Hebrew secular female poet: she had translated poetry and plays and was a literature professor in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

She was among the first students to learn Hebrew as a modern language and used it to express daily life experience and ventures: she unlocked the Hebrew that was chained in little rooms ( known as cheder חדר) and synagogues and was preserved for men and used it like a bicycle, a train, a boat and finally as silvery airplane wings to wander with it in the blue sky above, ignoring the heavy gravity below.

Among her writings were wonderful books for children.

One of them is known as: “What do the Does do?

מה עושות האיילות Ma Osot Ha’Ayalot ?”

What do the does do at night?
They are closing their big eyes
They are folding their light legs
Sleeping are the does at night.

Who is guarding their sweet dream?
The white moon from a distant
looking into the garden while smiling and
And tells the owl and the Jackal:
“Sleep and be quiet!”

What do the does dream at night?
They dream that the big elephants
Played marbles with them and
And in all, really in all, won the does.

Who wakes them up from their sleep?
Not the elephant, not the monkey and not the jackal
Not a rabbit, not a rooster and not a hyrax
Cause its the dawn’s-doe* (Venus, the morning star) their friend, wakes them up in the morning from their sleep

The Hebrew version:

מה עושות האילות?

מה עושות האיילות בלילות?
הן עוצמות את עיניהן הגדולות.
הן שולבות את רגליהן הקלות,
ישנות האיילות בלילות.

מי שומר על חלומן המתוק?
הירח הלבן מרחוק.
הוא מביט אל תוך הגן בבת צחוק
ואומר לכוס ותן: נום ושתוק!

מה חולמות האיילות בלילות?
הן חולמות כי הפילות הגדולות
שיחקו איתן בג’ולים וגולות,
ובכל, בכל זכו האילות.

מי מעיר אותן עם שחר משנתן?
לא הפיל, ולא הקוף, ולא התן,
לא ארנבת, לא שכוי ולא שפן,
כי איילת השחר חברתן
מעירה אותן בבוקר משנתן.


A musical interpretation of Ma Osot Ha’Ayalot was composed by Yoni Rechter for Arik Einstein. In this late version, a child is singing the song using a faster beat than the original one, that somewhat sounds like a lullaby. The child’s version brings the children’s excitement into the song, life is one big celebration represented by dawn’s doe. The hand-made video cartoon is animating the song word by word, and this is its greatness 🙂 enjoy it

Picture by Yossi Abulaffia

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