It’s that time again, when we reflect on our past year. We examine our successes, our failures, our mitzvahs, and our sins. A lot has happened this year both in our own lives and in the world. There have been wrongdoings, continued wars, and other destructive news stories. There have also been really great things this year, including groundbreaking laws (same-sex marriage comes to mind), personal life changes for many people, and hardly at the same level, but some really happy-sounding catchy tunes.
One such tune is Daft Punk’s summer hit, “Get Lucky.” What does this song by a French electronic music duo have anything to do with Rosh Hashanah or being Jewish? A lot more than you think.
As we reflect on our past year, we look to start anew, rise from the ashes of last year and start with a clean slate. Or as Daft Punk’s opening line to their song would state, “Like the legend of The Phoenix, all ends with beginnings.” From a Judaism perspective, not only are our lives being renewed and started fresh, but even the Torah is symbolically “refreshed” back to the beginning around this time of year.
The song is simple, yet extremely addictive and catchy. The concept of “getting lucky” is an old one… yes, of course they mean meeting a lovely shiksa at a club so you can shtup later (I’ll repent for saying that in a few weeks), but there can be a larger interpretation of the idea of, “getting lucky” from a Jewish standpoint.
A very common greeting amongst Jews when wishing each other well or saying congratulations is, “Mazel Tov,” which is literally translated as ,”Good Luck.” So the idea of luck is very alive in Judaism. Next time you say, “Mazel Tov,” (looking at you, will.i.am), just think that you are kind of saying, “Get Lucky.” Hey, we even have a lucky number, 18 (pronounced, “chai,” as in “L’chaim”), that makes all Bar Mitzvah checks a very weird amount (why would I want exactly 36 dollars?)
So, back to the original question of this article, What Does Daft Punk have to do with Being Jewish? In this related stream of thought, some people have asked, is Daft Punk Jewish? In their recent interview with Rolling Stone, Thomas Bangalter, the silver-helmeted robot of Daft Punk revealed that his father is Jewish… that makes Daft Punk a quarter Jewish (this might explain why they always cover their heads). Bangalter also shared that he spent his summers as a kid at a sleepaway camp in Maine… sounds Jewish to me! I like to think he went to my camp.
The content and spirit of their music also has, unintentionally, some nice Jewish themes in it. We already covered the Jewish connection to “Get Lucky,” but if you look at some other hits of theirs, you could really make a stretch and see some other Jewish themes. Jewish work ethic is very important and is cited multiple times in the Torah, namely around Joseph and his father Jacob who were very hard workers. Jews always strive to be “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.” We exist all over, “Around The World.”
Of course we can always improve, which is why we reflect and repent in the time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Let’s face it, we are “Human After All.”
So, it’s not so far removed that there would be a Rosh Hashanah parody video of Daft Punk’s song. This is where I shamelessly self-promote and share my video spoof of Daft Punk’s, “Get Lucky,” appropriately named, “Apples in Honey.”
Enjoy, and Shana Tova!