Feb 172013
 

Someone told me recently – I think they were trying to “help” – that back in the day, nobody had time to be depressed (too busy being heilike yidden or dying of cholera or something). But then there’s ibn Gabirol. If it quacks like a duck, and it wallows incessantly in its own despair like a duck…

Shlomo ibn Gabirol (1021? – 1058?)
So Great Is My Pain

So great is my pain, my wound mortally bleak,
My strength’s taken flight and the spirit is weak,
No refuge or haven exists for my soul,
No place that might offer the respite I seek.
For three things upon me were joined to destroy
My tormented soul and diminished physique:
The weight of my sins, and the host of my pains,
And solitude too – who could stand against three?
My God, are my bones made of copper or steel?
Or am I the serpent, or am I the sea?1
For troubles surround me at every stage,
As if they had all been bequeathed unto me,
And you only search out my own sins,2 as if
Not one other man might deserve your decree!
Behold all the toil of your servant, his strife,
His soul’s a trapped bird, Lord — if only you’d see:
Forever I’d be as a servant to you,
And never ’til death would I ask to be free.

שלמה אבן גבירול / سليمان ابن جبيرول
כאבי רב

 
כְּאֵבִי רַב וּמַכָּתִי אֲנוּשָׁה
וְכֹחִי סָר וְעַצְמוּתִי חֲלוּשָה,
וְאֵין מִבְרָח וְאֵין מָנוֹס לְנַפְשִׁי,
וְאֵין מָקוֹם תְּהִי לִי בוֹ נְפִישָׁה.
שְׁלֹשָה אֻסְּפוּ עָלַי לְכַלוֹת
שְׁאֵר גּוּפִי וְרוּחִי הָעֲנוּשָׁה:
גְּדֹל עָוֹן וְרֹב מַכְאוֹב וּפֵרוּד –
וּמִי יוּכַל עֲמֹד לִפְנֵי שְׁלֹשָה?
הֲיָם אָנִי וְאִם תַּנִין, אֱלֹהַי,
וְכִי בַרְזֵל עֲצָמַי אוֹ נְחוּשָׁה?
אֲשֶׁר כֹּל עֵת יְסֻבּוּנִי תְלָאוֹת,
כְּאִלוּ הֵם מְסוּרִים לִי יְרֻשָּׁה,
וְתִדְרשׁ לַעֲוֹנִי רַק, כְּאִלּוּ
לְךָ אֵין עַל בְּנֵי אָדָם דְּרִישָׁה!
רְאֵה נָא בַעֲמַל עַבְדָּךְ וְעָנְיוֹ
וְכִי נַפְשׁוֹ כְּמוֹ דָאָה יְקוּשָׁה –
וְאֶהְיֶה לָךְ לְעוֹלָמִים לְעֶבֶד
וְלֹא אֶשְׁאַל עֲדֵי נֶצַח חֲפִישָׁה.
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

Ke’eiví rav u-makatí ‘anusháh
Ve-khoḥí sar ve-ʕatzmutí ḥalusháh,
Ve-‘éin mivraḥ ve-‘éin manós le-nafshí,
Ve-‘éin makóm tehí li vo nefisháh.
Shelosháh ‘usfú ʕalái lekhalót
She’éir gufí ve-ruḥí ha-ʕanusháh:
Gedól ʕavón ve-róv makh’óv u-feirúd —
U-mí yukhál ʕamód lifnéi shelosháh?
Ha-yám ‘aní ve-‘ím tanín, ‘elohái,
Ve-khí varzél ʕatzamái ‘o neḥusháh?
‘Ashér kol ʕeit yesubúni tela’ót,
Ke’ílu heim mesurím li yerusháh,
Ve-tidrósh la-ʕavon rak, ke-‘ílu
Lekhá ein ʕal benéi ‘adám derisháh!
Re’éih na va-ʕamál ʕavdákh ve-ʕonyó
Ve-khí nafshó kemó da’áh yekusháh —
Ve-‘ehyéh lakh le-ʕolamím le-ʕéved
Ve-ló ‘esh’ál ʕadéi nétzaḥ ḥafisháh.

  1. Job 7:12.
  2. Job 10:6.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

(required)

(required)

Are you a Russian spam robot? Prove it: *