May 182014
 

Moshe ben Yoav (after 1506 – after 1569)
I Scream to the Distance

I scream to the distance, my eyes flow with tears
  For lost is all hope and all strength within grown.
Oh, how I’m surrounded by Time’s many woes
  Encamped all around, their sharp weapons they hone.
Who’ll keep us from cold, who will be as our shade,
  In whom can we trust, lying stricken and prone?
For angels of Death choose to dwell in our land
  From God’s own directive to us they have flown!
Alas, they’ve not pitied the elder and babe,
  Throughout my whole people sheer slaughter they’ve sown.
Oh, how can we stand against this host of strife
  That blossoms around us — our souls I bemoan!
With wrath rose the lords of the land and they said
  The wealth of the Jews we shall seize as our own
‘Twas slaughter and murder for Jacob’s own flock
  Both elder and infant they slashed to the bone
Alas, for our God stands afar and aloof
  And said in his heart, “I shall leave them alone.
This nation of Jacob who chased after wind
  Their sins I won’t pardon, nor shall they atone.
And with such cruel voice and with rage and wrath’s lash
  For them peace and rest shall be ever unknown.”
And so I shed tears and beat hand upon hand
  My heart in my chest I shall cleave like a stone
To make you an off’ring, O Rock up above,
  My spirit and soul I give up to your throne;
The mercies on high for His people shall blaze,
  His kindness and good will shine as they shone.

משה בן־יואב
אזעק למרחוק

 
אֶזְעַק לְמֵרָחוֹק וְעֵינַי יִבְכְּיוּן
 כִּי אָבְדָה תִקְוָה וּמַעֲצָר כֹּחַ
הוֹי כִּי סְבָבוּנִי מְצוּקוֹת הַזְּמָן
 גָּם עָמְדוּ בַמַּחֲנֶה שָׁטֹחַ
מִי יִהְיֶה מַחֲסֶה לְצִנָּה אוֹ לְצֵל
 לָנוּ וְעַל־מִי נִבְטְחָה בָטֹחַ
כִּי מַלְאֲכֵי מָוֶת בְּאַרְצִי יִשְׁכְּבוּ
 מֵהָאֱלֹהִים שֻׁלְּחוּ שָׁלֹחַ
אוֹי כִּי עֲלֵי זָקֵן וְטַף לֹא יַחְמְלוּ
 כִּי כָל־קְהָלִי יִרְצְחוּ רָצֹחַ
אוֹיָה לְנַפְשֵׁנוּ וְאֵיכָה נַעֲמֹד
 כִּי הַמְּבוּכוֹת פָּרְחוּ פָרֹחַ
קָמוּ נְגִידֵי עַם בְּזַעַם יֹאמְרוּ
 הוֹן הַיְּהוּדִים נִלְקְחָה לָקֹחַ
הֶרֶג וְאָבְדָן אֶל־קְהַל עַם יַעֲקֹב
 זָקֵן וְטַף יִנָּתְחוּ נָתֹחַ
אוֹי כִּי אֱלֹהֵינוּ בְּרָחוֹק יַעֲמֹד
 אָמַר בְּלִבּוֹ אֶזְנְחָה זָנֹחַ
עַם יַעֲקֹב כִּי רָדְפוּ הֶבֶל וְרִיק
 חֶטְאָם אֲנִי לֹא אֶסְלְחָה סָלֹחַ
אֵיכָה בְּקוֹל רָעָה וְשׁוֹט זַעַם וְאַף
 לֹא יִמְצְאוּ הַשְׁקֵט וְלֹא מָנוֹחַ
עַל־כֵּן אֲנִי אֶבְכֶּה וְאַכֶּה כַף בְּכַף
 לִבִּי בְקִרְבִּי אֶפְלְחָה פָלֹחַ
מִלַּעֲשׂוֹת זֶבַח לְךָ עֶלְיוֹן וְצוּר
 רוּחִי וְנַפְשִׁי אֶזְבְּחָה זָבֹחַ
כִּי רַחֲמֵי עֶלְיוֹן לְעַמּוֹ יִכְמְרוּ
 חַסְדּוֹ וְטוּבוֹ יִזְרְחוּ זָרֹחַ.
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

‘Ezʕáq le-mei-raḥóq ve-ʕeinái yivke’ún
Ki ‘avdáh tiqváh u-maʕatzár kóaḥ
Hoi ki sevavúni metzuqót ha-zmán
Gam ʕamdú va-maḥanéh shatóaḥ
Mi yihyéh maḥaséh le-tzináh ‘o le-tzéil
Lánu ve-ʕal mi nivteḥáh vatóaḥ
Ki mal’akhéi mávet be-‘artzí yishkevú
Mei-ha-‘elohím shulḥú shalóaḥ
‘Oi ki ʕaléi zaqéin ve-táf lo yaḥmelú
Ki khol qehalí yirtzeḥu ratzóaḥ
‘Oyáh le-nafshéinu ve-‘eikháh naʕamód
Ki ha-mevukhót parḥú faróaḥ
Qámu negidéi ʕam be-záʕam yomrú
Hon ha-yehudím nilqeḥáh laqóaḥ
Héreg ve-‘ovdán ‘el-qehál ʕam yaʕaqóv
Zaqéin ve-táf yinatḥú natóaḥ
‘Oi ki ‘elohéinu be-raḥóq yaʕamód
‘Amár be-libó ‘ezneḥáh zanóaḥ
ʕam yaʕaqóv ki radfú hével ve-ríq
Ḥet’ám ‘aní lo ‘esleḥáh salóaḥ
‘Eikháh be-qól raʕáh ve-shót záʕam ve-‘áf
Lo yimtze’ú hashqéit ve-ló manóaḥ
ʕal kein ‘aní ‘evkéh ve-‘akéh khaf be-kháf
Libí ve-qirbí ‘efleḥáh falóaḥ
Mi-laʕasót zévaḥ lekhá ʕelyón ve-tzúr
Ruḥí ve-nafshí ‘ezbeḥáh zavóaḥ
Ki raḥaméi ʕelyón le-ʕamó yikhmerú
Ḥasdó ve-tuvó yizreḥú zaróaḥ.

May 182014
 

The magic of fountain pens.

***

A short while later I found myself in Tehilla’s house and found her sitting at the table as if awaiting me with all her strength. The room was small and the walls pressed in closely and the ceiling was domed, as rooms had been in Jerusalem in past generations. Had it not been for a small bed in the corner and a clay pitcher standing on the table I would have likened her room to a prayer room. Even its few furnishings — a polished copper lamp, a copper washing cup, a copper candelabra with a few arms hanging from the ceiling, and indeed the table upon which lay a prayer book and a chumash1 and another book — gave the room something of the graceful atmosphere of a prayer room. Continue reading »

  1. The Five Books of Moses in book form.