The Melody of Duty: Yair Levi’s Journey from the IDF to Worship
In the bustling heart of Nashville, a voice whispers a tale of longing—a longing for home, family, and heritage. Yair Levi, an Israeli Orthodox singer, carries within him the legacy of the ancient Levite tribe, a lineage of sacred service. But Yair’s service extends beyond the spiritual; he is also a former captain in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), a role that has shaped his life as deeply as his music.
On a recent episode of “Conversations on the Walk,” host Joshua Swanson delves into the story of Yair, a man whose life’s work is a symphony composed of contrasting yet harmonious parts: artist, advocate, and soldier. The episode, rich with the echoes of history and the rhythms of faith, takes us on a journey through the many seasons of Yair’s life.
Yair speaks with the intimacy of a man well-acquainted with sacrifice. Every Israeli joins the IDF at eighteen, but for Yair, it was not just a duty; it was a calling. His years in an elite unit akin to the American Navy SEALs were marked by secret operations and life-risking endeavors. Yet, it was in these moments of peril that Yair found clarity—a connection to his ancestors’ dreams, the biblical patriarchs, and the divine promise given to his people.
Transitioning from military to music, Yair’s story takes an unexpected turn. The heartbeat of his songs resonated unexpectedly with Christian audiences, stirring a curiosity within him about these new listeners. Through social media and shared melodies, Yair discovered common ground, connecting deeply with Christians moved by the Hebrew roots of their faith. His music, imbued with translations and teachings, became a bridge between cultures, a celebration of shared heritage.
But Yair’s story is not without its somber notes. The war’s outbreak forced him to don his uniform once more, stepping into the role of advocate. With poignant tales of loss and bravery, he sought to tell the truth of Israel’s struggles, rallying support amidst the cacophony of global voices.
Swanson’s conversation with Yair Levi is an invitation to witness a life where duty and devotion harmonize, where music becomes an anthem for unity and peace. As Yair dons his uniform in Tel Aviv, sharing stories of his service and his hopes for collaboration across faiths, we are reminded of the power of a single voice to inspire change and understanding.
“The Melody of Duty: Yair Levi’s Journey from the IDF to Worship” is not merely another episode of a podcast; it is a narrative symphony that celebrates the multifaceted nature of faith, the shared journey towards peace, and the universal language of music.
Please subscribe to our social channels for more information and great content surrounding building a lifestyle of worship. This podcast is brought to you by Authentic Media and Worship Leader Magazine. Our host is Joshua Swanson and the show’s co-producer and editor is Matt McCartie. More episodes can be found here.
Read the transcript here
Who is Yair Levi?
Yair Levi, a Tel Aviv-based Jewish Israeli artist, seamlessly blends the roles of singer, songwriter, and music producer. Born into the lineage of the Levites, descendants of the Tribe of Levi, Yair’s heritage profoundly influences his musical creations. His eight-year service as a Major in the Israeli Navy Seals has infused his work with a depth and resilience that is rare and captivating.
In his music, Yair masterfully intertwines the soulful essence of Jewish tradition with his deep-seated faith and Biblical values. His songs are more than mere melodies; they are a revival of ancient music, reimagined and brought into the contemporary world. This unique blend has not only endeared him to audiences within Israel but has also resonated across cultural and religious boundaries.
Yair’s musical journey has been marked by significant collaborations with some of Israel’s most esteemed musicians, expanding his influence beyond the Israeli borders in recent years. His ability to connect with diverse cultures and faiths through music is a testament to the universal language of art and belief.
One of Yair’s most impactful works is ‘Refa Na’ (‘please heal her’), inspired by a verse in Numbers 12:13. Composed in 2020 as a heartfelt plea for his ailing grandmother’s recovery, the song has touched millions globally, transcending language barriers with translations in Chinese, German, Spanish, and more. This song’s overwhelming success has catapulted Yair into the limelight as a surprisingly versatile and influential figure in the international faith music scene.
A particularly noteworthy rendition of ‘Refa Na’ was performed by Lebanese Christian singer Carine Basilli. In a beautiful gesture of unity and peace, she collaborated with Yair to sing the song in Arabic. This version stands as a powerful prayer for peace in the Middle East, bridging divides and fostering harmony through the shared language of music and faith.
Music by Yair Levi
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