Monday, July 17, 2006

     Here's something unusual: a poem in norm- spell!! As an anthem to Israel it falls on the edge of, or even outside of my normal poetry. (My "normal" poetry?? Hmmm...) Anyway, the poem was energized by a remarkable article in Arthur Green's anthology "Jewish Spirituality from the 16th C. Revival to the Present." The article I refer to is "Spiritual and Anti-Spiritual Trends in Zionism" by Ehud Luz. Beyond that, I'm also thinking, given the hatred facing Israel these days, of the "Song of the Partisans" by Hirsh Glik. Different circumstances, surely, but isn't *this* also a time to be writing partisan songs??!!!
     This poem was published online at Eshel: Kumah's Journal of Neo-Zionist Thought, [].

Anthem to the Modern Khaluetzim*
               * Hebrew for “pioneers”
               Dedicated to Ehud Luz

Remember what you're doing, and where you've come from,
You who have made a home on holy ground.
Yours is the era of prophecy's return!
Don't you know you are each Heads of Thousands,
The new Sanhedrin, creating sacred time,
While the nations stand back, disbelieving and confused.
Their time is marked by hours on a face,
Their days by distant and faint calls to prayer.
But every one of you is Priestess and Prophet
Absorbed in the Divine Moment that others only read of.
You are the authors of the newest book of Torah,
Creating it with your biceps and with your other worldly hearing.

     You in the yeshivahs, it is for you to learn:
     There is more to this Earth than your soiled vision of it.
     And you without a rabbi, for you to learn:
     There is more to Heaven than your cloudy vision of it.
     And you on the right, it is for you to learn:
     There is more safety in compassion than in any conquering.
     And you on the left, for you to learn:
     There is more peace in strength than in any treaty.

Why despair that the way is so dangerous and troubled?
Then it would not take giants like you to smooth it.
Remember the Priestess, Rahel, who prophesied:
     “You, Ya'akov, is it impossible to roll
     “The stone away from the mouth of the well?”
And Brenner with a chisel, who carved in stone:
     “You must increase realism and holiness in the world.”

You, khaluetzim, you holy Zion makers
You are the messianic builders of the way.
And as you are arising the nations descend,
Grown smaller in their emptiness and self-despising.
They raise their voices and their pagan souls are heard:
     They are cursing you as their way of cursing God!

You, Israel, you already are rolling
The stone away from the mouth of the well.
The water is sweet and so are your blessings!

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