Hine Ma Tov

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Hine (or Hinay or "Hineih") Mah Tov is a Jewish hymn traditionally sung at Shabbat feasts. [1]

Lyrics and Transliteration[edit]

The lyrics, in Hebrew, read: .הִנֵּה מַה טוֹב וּמַה נָּעִים שֶׁבֶת אָחִים גַּם יַחַד

In Romanized Hebrew:

Hine(y) ma tov u’ma-nayim

Shevet ach-im gam ya-chad

Or in Romanized Biblical Hebrew:

Hinneh mah Tov umah naʿiym

sheveth aḥiym gam yaḥadh

Origins and translation[edit]

Its lyrics are the first verse of Psalm 133, which reads, "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!"[2]

.הִנֵּה מַה טוֹב = Hine mah tov
Behold how good

וּמַה נָּעִים = uMah-Nayim
and how pleasing

שֶׁבֶת אָחִים גַּם יַחַד = shevet achim gam yachad
if brothers (people) could sit together in unity
(in Hebrew, the masculine also includes the feminine when a mixed group of people are concerned)

Yachad is from the word Yachid which means absolute unity and has a higher connotation than just peace and harmony.

The question is asked in the Talmud, "How can you describe HaShem (God)" and the reply is "Yachid" (absolute unity).[citation needed]

It is for this reason that the word "Yachad" has a higher connotation in that it also implies unity with the Creator and not just with other people. Simply put, it implies an ascended level of universal consciousness.


Hine Ma Tov continues to be a popular hymn for Shabbat feasts and is the basis for several Israeli folk dances.[3] It has been recorded by artists as diverse as Dalida, Meir Finkelstein, Ishtar, the Miami Boys Choir, the Abayudaya of Uganda and the dub group Adonai and I. Harry Belafonte recorded a version on his 1960 album, Belafonte Returns to Carnegie Hall. Matisyahu has recorded a version of it too.

In popular entertainment[edit]

In the 1977 television film Raid on Entebbe, Yonathan Netanyahu and Sammy Berg lead the Israeli commandos in singing the refrain while the commandos' plane is en route to rescue the hostages. It is also played during the closing credits. The song also features in the 1990 film Europa Europa where the lyrics are translated as How sweet it is to be sitting, surrounded by all of your brothers.


External links[edit]