Saturday, October 04, 2008

A poem for Yom Kippur

This poem was 'given' to me on Shabbat Shuvah, Oct 7, 2000; in the Hebrew calendar, Tishray 8, 5760. ('Given,' which is to say, I was both the recipient and the one who, by taking action, recovered what was else still waiting to be heard/experienced.) It is a poem appropriate to the Days of Awe, the 10 days that include the Jewish New Year and Day of Atonement. Indeed, today, October 4, 2008, is also Shabbat Shuva. At the end of the poem, you can find a glossary of the Hebrew, and otherwise obscure, terms.

Riten and Seelenz in the Bouk

Owwer Parent, owwer Ruler
     Yu hav rememberd Yur chieldz.
El Shaddiy, Uddoniy,
     Yu ar bownd and we ar bienden.
On Roesh HaShunna it iz ritten.
     On Yoem Keepor it iz seeld.
Avvenu, Malkanu,
     Yu ar the Juj.
Owwer Parent, owwer Powwer,
     Yu ar the hope.

On November 9, 1938
     Yur day ov jujjen began.
On 5 Eyar, 5708
     Yur 10 day ov wayingz ended
     And we wer seeld for a yeer tu make life.

On November 9, 1938
     We began tu kry owt
     Asking a forgiv.
Forgiv Avvenu, forgive Malkanu
     For we hav bowd down tu owwer thots, owwer idelz.
     hen Babballon roze and began tu punnish.
Mersee El Shaddiy, mersee HaMakkoem,
     For we dessenden tu baesless haetred,
          Az enliten Jewz abbuezd the piyus
          Hu held owwer senter ov tradditten;
          And observen Jews kurst at thoze
          Hu sot tu restor ower Proffettek Speer.
     Then Rome reerd up and a sekkend punnish men.
Kompashen Father, kompashen muther,
     For we hav ternd awway frum Yur Proffets and Vizhenz,
     Frum Hertzel hu fortoeld ov owwer redeemen,
          Hume the piyus kondammd,
          And enliten men abbuezd,
          But thay hu lissend, thay bekum holee.
Yu jujjd Avvenu, Yu jujjd Malkanu,
     And all owwer praer,
     And all owwer lerningz,
     And all owwer deedz
     Ternd bak a werld destrukten!
Oenlee on Yur skaelz, oh God, owwer God!
Oenlee on Yur skaelz
     Du praerz and lerning and kiendness hav wate.

On 5 Eyar, 5708 Yu seeld the Bouk
     That Yur Proffets and Yur Preesthoud woud liv.

Avvenu, Malkanu,
     Hu nercherz and sustaenz,
On November 9, 1938
     Yu began tu juj the nashenz ov the werld.
     Thay hu kryd owt:
          We ar the streng!
          We ar the godz!
          We ar the jujjez ov the werl!
El Shaddiy, Elloheem
     On 5 Eyar, 5708
     Wut nashenz did yu seel with deth?

1. El Shaddiy: a name of God, implying the nurturing aspect.
2. Uddoniy: another name of God, implying mercy and universality. "Uddoniy" (usually spelled "Adonai") means "The Master" and as a spoken/read word, has no relationship to the 4 Hebrew letters on the page - Yud Hay Vav Hay. This separation of the written and spoken Name acknowledges that God's true Name is too holy to literally pronounce.
3. Yoem Keepor: accent on last syllable (KeePOR).
4. Avvenu: Hebrew for "our father."
5. Malkanu: Hebrew for "our king."
6. Avvenu Malkanu: this phrase is repeated in supplication numerous times on Yom Kippur.
7. November 9, 1938: the night of Kristallnacht, a state-orchestrated pogrom in Germany, often thought of as the beginning of the Shoah, the Holocaust.
8. 5 Eyar, 5708: the date in the Jewish calendar when Israel declared itself as a nation; May 14, 1948.

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