This Hebrew Cover of Miley Cyrus' 'Flowers' Will Give You Joy – Kveller
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This Hebrew Cover of Miley Cyrus’ ‘Flowers’ Will Give You Joy

Israel's top Mizrahi singer, Zehava Ben, takes on the hit pop song.


Israel is turning 75 this year, and it’s definitely a tense political time in the Jewish state.

As an Israeli expat living in America, I do have some national treasures that I go back to for comfort at times like these. One such treasures is Zehava Ben, a Mizrahi singer that recently won over the nation by winning Israel’s “Celebrity Big Brother.” Ben’s greatest hit is probably “Tipat Mazal” (literally “A Drop of Luck”), but her entire discography is very much worth exploring.

Recently, she gave us a gift that I’m absolutely obsessed with: a Mizrahi-tinged cover of the Miley Cyrus song “Flowers” that hits my brain’s pleasure centers just right. She preformed this short cover in the studio of the popular Galgalatz radio station, for the show “Medina Ba’Derech” (or “Country on the Road”) hosted by Ahinoam Bar, in a delightful pre-Mimouna episode (here’s a cute picture of the two together, dressed for the occasion).

The lyrics are mostly pretty simple and a good way for novice Hebrew speakers to brush up on their vocabulary, mixed with some really enjoyable Hebrew slang.

I’ve transliterated and translated the full lyrics of the minute-long cover below for your singing pleasure, but some highlights include Ben singing about her ex-lover that “bapinukim ahavta lehafgiz,” which roughly means “used to love-bomb me with treats,” until one day, Ben sings, “chatafta et ha’kriz,” which I shall translate roughly to “you blew a gasket.”

Ben then sings that she will buy herself one singular flower — “perach” in Hebrew (it’s also the name of a popular Yehuda Poliker song). She translates the Cyrus lyric of “chat to myself for hours” into “akashkesh li lanetzach,” which delightfully means both “I will babble on forever” and “I will doodle forever” (obviously the former is what Zehava means) and then sings, “bli shetachpor li barosh” which means, literally, “without you digging into my head” or “without you talking my head off.”

Ben then surmises that the truth about said ex-lover is that when it comes to him, it’s better to be alone.

We then get a little oud riff and a sweet laughing Zehava, bless her angel soul. Would I listen to Ben sing all of “Flowers” in this fun, semi-nonsensical Hebrew style? Oh, absolutely. I’d make it my life’s purpose to get it to a million views.

In the meantime, I have this short and sweet cover on repeat, because it’s absolutely healing something in me — and I hope it does in you, too.

Transliterated Hebrew lyrics:

Haya tov


Lo hefsaknu le’ehov

Kama keif ze haya

Ve’achshav atzuv li nora

Ba’pinukim ahavta le’hafgiz

Ad she’yom echad chatafta et a kriz

Le’atzmi ekneh perach

Ve’echtov shmi bachol

Akashkesh li lanetzach

Bli shetachpor li barosh

Be’hofa’ot erev erev

Achzik levad et hayad

Ki ha’emet hi she’itcha

Adif levad

Rough English translation:

It was good

And golden

We didn’t stop loving [each other]

How fun

It was

And now I am super sad

With pampering you used to love-bomb me

Until one day you blew a gasket

I will buy myself a flower

And write my name in the sand

Babble forever

Without you talking my head off

In shows every night

I will hold my own hand

Because the truth is that with you

It’s better to be alone

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